Amit Shah's Kashmir approach: No velvet glove over iron fist
The two-day maiden visit of Amit Shah to Kashmir after he took over as the country's home minister had one clear message for the separatists: he does not believe in wearing a velvet glove over an iron fist.
Amit Shah is the first home minister who did not drop even a faint hint of any meeting ground with the separatists.
For the new Union Home Minister the drawing lines on the chessboard are clear -- those supporting separatism cannot expect any wooing or concession from Amit Shah.
While he said the fight against terrorists and terrorism will continue unabated, what was probably missed in his statement was the line that said: "Those inimical to peace and normalcy will be dealt with firmly". It ceases to be a matter of interpretation what the home minister meant by forces inimical to peace and normalcy.
It would be naive to believe that the first visit of Amit Shah to J&K was simply to oversee the security arrangements made for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra.
If that had been the basic objective of his visit to the state, then a video conference from the south block with all the stakeholders in the peaceful conduct of the Yatra should have been a better and more effective way of reviewing the Yatra security.
The two-day visit, according to sources close to Shah, has been to deliver a firm and unequivocal message that "if anyone in the separatist camp is waiting to be invited for talks like New Delhi did in the past, he is barking up the wrong tree.
"The fact that Shah took three top level security meetings in New Delhi immediately after taking over as the Union Home Minister and all these pertained to dealing with the overall security in J&K, proves one that he means business and that business is definitely not going to be based on any give and take", said sources close to him.
How firmly he wants to handle Kashmir is also clear from the fact that he is the first Union Home Minister to visit the state during the last 30 years who did not meet even a single mainstream political leader, not even those from his own party.
Insiders told IANS that Shah's meeting with the state BJP leaders in Srinagar remained confined to distribution of compensation among the next of kin of the BJP workers killed by militants in the state.
"Not a word on how the politics of the state should be run even with the state BJP leaders", said a source privy to Shah's meeting with state BJP leaders.
Amit Shah has the future course on Kashmir already drawn and charted. How it unfolds will become clear in the coming months now that the President's rule in the state is being extended by another six months. IANS