As an Army veteran whose family has had a proud martial tradition of soldiering for over 200 years and a genuinely concerned citizen of India who proudly safeguarded our national frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East, and put his life at stake on several occasions, I have some suggestions on how to work towards winning the hearts and minds of Kashmiris.
Kashmir has seen enough bloodshed. It is time to stop it once and for all. But we must also understand that it is difficult to fight the bitterness and alienation of so many years.
Kashmiris should have the confidence that the Armed forces in Kashmir are there to protect them and not to intimidate them. When I was posted in the region for two years, we did our best to earn trust and goodwill. During the devastating floods in Kashmir in 2014, soldiers rescued residents irrespective of their background, even at the cost of risking their own lives. This is something we can build on.
A few points I would like to reiterate to my fellow Indians:
1. Please be mindful of your language so as to not hurt anyone’s sentiments.
2. Convince Kashmiris that the nation is with them. Mind you, I am saying…
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Author: Mohommed Ali Shah