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Winning of Hearts and Minds’ in terrorism-affected areas is an essential step in restoring the trust of the population. Discuss the measures adopted by the Government in this respect as part of the conflict resolution in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Winning Hearts and Minds” (WHAM) remains a pivotal counter-insurgency strategy, emphasizing the role of trust-building in conflict resolution. Its application in terrorism-affected areas, like Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), focuses on engendering trust among local communities, ensuring that they feel heard, supported, and integral to the nation’s fabric.

Concerns and WHAM Measures in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):

ConcernsWHAM Measures
Historical deprivationAbrogation of Article 370 for better integration with the Indian Union.
Persistent militancyProject Sadhbhavana: Aimed at aiding youth to realize their aspirations.
Human rights issues linked with PSA and AFSPADefence Minister R. Singh’s 2023 statement on the conditional removal of AFSPA in the return of lasting peace.
Economic StagnationPM’s Development Package for J&K emphasizing employment and infrastructure enhancement.
Political AlienationPush towards conducting elections in J&K post the Delimitation process.

Additional WHAM Measures:

Project HimayatAims at the capacity building and employment of the youth.
Project UmeedTailored for the empowerment of J&K women.
Infrastructure DevelopmentEstablishing institutes like AIIMS, IIT, and IIM; Jawahar tunnel and Chenab bridge.
Rail ConnectivityUdhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL).
Khelo India Centres94 centres established in J&K, roughly 10% of the total centres across India.

Signs of WHAM Strategy’s Success:

Seerat Naaz’s RequestA plea to the PM for educational reforms showcasing trust in governance.
Faizan Gul’s AspirationsAspiration to partake in elections highlights shifting sentiment of the youth.
Majid Khan’s CaseAbandoning LeT without charges emphasizes the humane approach in the WHAM strategy.

Conclusion: WHAM is a holistic strategy that takes into account not just military or security solutions but integrates socio-economic and political remedies. It aims to build bridges with the community and lay the groundwork for enduring peace and development.

February 2024