Disturbance, Peace and Development in Kashmir

 

Ab. Hamid Sheikh

 

Research Scholar, Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal Srinagar 190006, India

 

 

ABSTRACT:

The Kashmir conflict as a consequent of Partition of India, costs heavy damage to the economy of Kashmir and both India and Pakistan. The people of the Kashmir became victims of voilence forged by both subversive groups and security agecies. In this paper, the author has attempted to analyse the impact of turmoil on economy of Kashmir Valley and benefits of ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan under the nomenclature of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). The relative importance of peace and development is crux of this paper. The establishment of peace in Kashmir Valley would be an economic boon for J&K in general and Kashmir in particular, which has been evidenced in the paper by stastistical analysis.

 

KEY WORDS: Costs, Confidence Building Measures, Development, Economy, Peace, Turmoil.

 

1. INTRODUCTION:

The Partition of Indian-sub-continent and emergence of India and Pakistan on its debris followed by the de-facto fragmentation of “Greater Kashmir” into India Administered Kashmir called Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) called Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and the emergence of Line Actual Control (LoC) in between them in 1949, rendered the long India-Pakistan border line rigid and stalled the whole process of free trade, human passage and religio-cultural movements. The Partition forged Kashmir conflict with cascading effects on the people of Kashmir for more than six decades now. Both nations of India and Pakistan fought several wars on J&K on ethno-national and ideological grounds. The inestimable cost was visible in the killing of more than 1,00,000 souls. Hundreds and thousands were displaced and rendered homeless and equal number was subjected to psychiatric ailments. The inestimable number of orphanages and destruction of precious infrastructure make yet another case of effects following Kashmir conflict. The economic cost of the conflict cannot be confined to a particular sector of industry or investment. It affected the livelihood of local people especially in tourism, horticulture and handicrafts sectors. In this paper data has been sorted out for presenting a concise, clear and analytical picture of the relative significance of peace and development with special reference to Kashmir Valley.

 

2. OBJECTIVES:

·        To analyze impact of disturbance and ongoing peace process on the development of Kashmir.

·        To study relative importance of peace and development specifically in Kashmir Valley.

·        To examine impact of turmoil on economy of Kashmir Valley

 

 

 


3. MATERIAL AND METHODS:

The purpose of the study is to examine the harmful effects of disturbance and importance of peace in the economic development of Kashmir Valley for which data has been collected from the annual reports of Ministry of Home Affairs and Planning Commission. The field study constituted a significant part of this research work as the author is part of the Valley and has first hand experience about the impact of disturbance and realized the influence of ongoing peace process in Kashmir Valley. The data collected has been analyzed and interpreted with the help of trend analysis method.

 

4. DISCUSSION:

Kashmir enjoyed special status in the Indian subcontinent before 1947 as it offered a direct land access of India to China, Tashkent, Lahore, Amritsar and Rawalpindi, and facilitated the free movement of diverse goods, merchants, explorers, spies and soldiers across different routes criss-crossing Kashmir. Importantly, families and communities of the common ethno-historical lot fragmented with no intimate connection in between due to LoC & the rigid stand of the two nations on J&K. Out of 17 million people, affected in the process, 1.5 million were Kashmiris who suffered a lot due partition and consequent conflict. Above all, these unhealthy developments triggered Kashmir conflict with immense human loss and damage of precious infrastructure. Alone due to militancy as a sequel of Kashmir conflict, tens and thousands became maimed, marginalized, distitutes and orphans.

 

4.1. Disturbance:

The disturbance has always negative impact on economy, which is true about the Kashmir Valley as well and is evidenced by economic under-development since the onset of self-determination movement in late 1980s. The trend of development in Kashmir has been lagging behind most of the states in terms of Net State Domestic Product (NSDP). The average annual growth of the NSDP during 1980-81 to 1999-2000 was 12.45% for the J&K against 15.01%, 14.28%, 13.83% for Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Kerala respectively. The same trend is evident in Per Capita Net State Domestic Product as the average annual growth Per Capita Net State Domestic Product for J&K during 1980-2000 was estimated as 9.63% against 12.9%, 11.63%, 12.86% for Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Kerala respectively. (Planning Commission of India, 2006) Economic growth has been severely stifled because of security reasons. The funds have been diverted for establishing law and order in the state and economic welfare took back seat. The security related Expenditure reimbursed by the Union Government for 1989-2002 to the state of J&K amounted Rs. 23578.5 million(Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report 2002-2004, Government of India) being spent on 600,000 to 700,000 or more soldiers. As a result, there are virtually no engines of job creation, leading to a swelling population of unemployed educated individuals, particularly in urban centers. Over 100,000 youth are currently unemployed, and the problem is worsening-the total number of unemployed in 2000 was almost 50% higher than in 1990.

 

The tourism industry of Kashmir, which has great economic potential to solve economic problems of Kashmir but it also suffered severely due to unstable conditions in Kashmir Valley and the biggest casualty of the turmoil has been the tourist industry in Kashmir. More than 700,000 tourists flocked to the Kashmir Valley every year. However, since the start of militant activity in 1989, tourism to the Valley dropped sharply, from 722,035 in 1988 to a low of 6,267 in 1991.(J&K Tourism Department) There was a great dip in tourists in 1989 due to uncertain law and order situation, which was continued upto 1998. Tourism being the main stay in the economy of Kashmir, was deeply affected by the circumstances emerged out of the disturbance in the Valley. It has been estimated that the state lost 27 million tourists from 1989-2002 leading to tourism revenue loss to the tune of US $ 3.6 billion.

 

The costs of the conflict have been increasingly unbearable for all involved. According to the official estimates, some 40,000 lives have been lost since the onset of militancy in 1989, though other estimates (unofficial sources) put the toll much higher. The most alarming human rights problem in Kashmir remains the high number of unlawful killings by security forces. Civilians have been victims of fighting as they were shot in the crossfire, security forces did not take all feasible precautions to distinguish between civilians and militants. The number of civilians killed increased continuously form 29 civilians in 1988 to 1468 civilians in 1996. The conflict resulted into displacement of several Pandit families from Kashmir, which put heavy pressure on the State treasure. The expenses incurred by J&K, Delhi and some other states in giving relief to the displaced people from J&K state comes to the tune of 973 million per annum. The turmoil led to the destruction of 758 schools, 9 hospitals, 243 bridges, 1,264 other government buildings, 9,309 homes, and 1,659 shops between 1988 and 1997. (Parveez Devan, 2002.) The destruction was a big loss for all sections of the society, the enormity of economic damage due to disturbance can be gauged by the fact that the estimates of damage till December 1996 were approximately INR 4 billion.

 

4.2. Peace and Development:

The peace process between India and Pakistan began in 2004 for which the immediate impulse came from the Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in January 2004. Both agreed to resume the dialogue within the framework of ‘2+6’ (This meant that two issues were assigned a higher position on the scale of negotiations, while six others were to be dealt with piecemeal. Negotiations on the two major issues of peace and security, including Confidence Building Measures and Kashmir, were to be held at the foreign secretary level. Negotiations on six other issues, Siachen, Tulbul navigation project, Sir Creek, terrorism and drug trafficking, economic and commercial cooperation and promotion of friendly exchanges were to start from July 2004 by the relevant administrative departments). Thus the peace process which began with meek response became a dream child for the people of Kashmir and it helped them to come out of years of chaos and confusion. The ongoing peace process has created a space in which both peace and development activities can go simultaneously. The development of the region can act as a deterrent against violence since violence has not only affected development of the state but also has brought innumerable losses for both India and Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.

 

The ongoing peace process proved very much beneficial for the development of J&K state, which is evidenced by annual growth in nominal GDP of the State. It continuously increased from 8.53% in 2005-06 to 12.97% in 2011-12. The progress in the economy of the State is also clear from annual growth in GDP per capita, which continuously increased from 7.0% in 2005-06 to 8.0 in2010-11. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_India_states_byGDP#per-capita_income)

 

The State government is very serious to overcome problem of unemployment and in this connection two entrepreneur centers have been established, one each in Kashmir and Jammu. In these centers guidance and financial assistance is being provided to the unemployed youth for establishing private units. The State is also providing Voluntary Service Allowance (VSA) to unemployed youth perhaps to save them from subversive activities.

 

The peace process had an immediate impact on the revival of tourism in the J&K and particularly in the Valley of Kashmir. The number of tourists visiting Kashmir Valley increased from a low of 16131 tourists in 1997 to 432888 tourists in 2006. (J&K Tourism Department) The overall analysis suggests that if the state government is able to control militancy and bring out the general state of law and order to the levels of the period 1987-89, it would be possible to bring about a dramatic recovery in the economy of the region within the next 5 years. There has been a marked improvement in the law and order situation in J & K in recent years because of the people’s yearning for peace. The number of incidents and casualties has progressively come down in the last 2 years and the overall security situation in the State has shown perceptible improvement. The ongoing peace process motivated Government of India and Pakistan for the initiation of various measures to enhance people to people contact across LoC which includes cross LoC travel and trade. Further, in order to facilitate the return of Kashmiri Migrants, the Central Government constructed several flats at Sheikhpora in Budgam District on an experimental basis at an expenditure of Rs.22.90 crore.  In addition to this, the Prime Minister during his visit to J&K on April 25, 2008 announced, inter-alia, a package of Rs.1618.40 crore for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley. The package includes provision of assistance towards housing, transit accommodation, continuation of cash relief, students scholarship, employment, assistance to agriculturists/horticulturists and waiver of interest on loans.(Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report 2002-2004, Government of India) All these positive development became possible in the peaceful atmosphere established with Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan. So continuation of peace means an over all development for the people of Kashmir Valley.

 

5. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS:

The people of Kashmir are suffering from several decades. The ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan created a ray of hope in the hearts of Kashmiri people. They realized very well relative importance of peace and development and will never miss any opportunity for establishing law and order in the Valley. In fact, all section of Kashmir society are favoring for the establishment of long term peace in the State and peace would got support from all quarters. India and Pakistan should follow the ongoing peace process, which would be beneficial not only for J&K and PAK but also for India and Pakistan as both of them are spending a good amount on defence. The political parties of J&K should stop from politicizing small issues

 

6. REFERENCES:

1.       B.S. Badan, Impact of Tourism in South India (New Delhi: Commonwealth Publishers, 1997).

2.       Parveez Devan, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, (New Delhi: Manas Publications, 2002).

3.       Wajahat Habib-ullah, The Political Economy of the Kashmir Conflict – Opportunities for Economic Peace building and  for U.S. Policy, (Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 2004).

4.       Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report 2002-2004, Government of India, New Delhi.

5.       Planning Commission of India, Jammu and Kashmir: Development Scenario, Executive Summary, 2006. http://planningcommission. nic.in/plans/stateplan/sdr_ j&k/sdr_ jkexecutive.pdf. (accessed on 14-11-2008)

6.       R . Soundararajan and P. Rajan, Impact of Terrorism on Jammu and Kashmir Tourism (Delhi: Kalpaz Publications, 2006).

 

Received on 11.01.2013

Modified on 24.02.2013

Accepted on 03.04.2013           

© A&V Publication all right reserved

Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 4(3): July-September,  2013, 349-351