New Delhi: It is important not to lose perspective about the violence in Kashmir that has followed the death in an encounter of a militant, Burhan Wani. Let us get over romanticizing someone who dressed in battle fatigues and posted his pictures on the social media and had the ridiculous idea of hoisting some delusional flag in Red Fort. The country needs to grow up not to take such people seriously.

The militant’s resort to weapons to further his fancies brought him into confrontation with an elected government and he paid the price. That is all there is to it. He is a militant if not a terrorist. He is not a freedom fighter. There is a freely elected government in Jammu and Kashmir. Omar Abdullah should know better than to spout nonsense on Twitter. He writes as though he will never again be J and K Chief Minister. On this showing, he will probably never be.

Fixing Jammu and Kashmir is not a 100-metre dash whatever newspaper columnists may say otherwise. People usually forget how bad the situation was in the past and make the worst of the present. This writer covered Kashmir from the beginning of the militancy in the late 1980s. The Valley is a far more negotiable place than then.

There is no silver bullet for J and K. Anyone who claims to have it doesn’t know the first thing about the place. Jammu and Kashmir is a border state. On the other side of the border lies Pakistan which practises a state policy of terrorism. It engineered militancy in the state piggybacking on the anger of the 1987 election fraud and employed tactics learnt in the “mujahideen wars” of Afghanistan. It took direct control of the Kashmiri militancy via Pakistani Punjabi groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed which have spread terrorist violence to the rest of the country.

The difference with Burhan Wani was that he was Hizbul Mujahideen whose savagery was neutralized in the early 1990s. The rising at his death confirms his Kashmiri roots but does not excuse his armed career. If you take up arms against the state as the Dallas cop killer did, the consequences are predictable. There is no reason to become hysterical at his death if he died in a fair fight with the forces.

Without being cynical, it needs stressing that the situation will return to normal in a few weeks. Jammu and Kashmir has seen several phases of intense tension in the past. The state can manage these tensions. When it first broke out, there seemed no counter to stone throwing. It was eventually controlled. Some throwers were released from custody as an Id goodwill gesture.

In still earlier years, the Hizbul Mujahideen was contained after it decimated the secular challenge posed by the JKLF. The Pakistani groups that seized the vacated spaces were picked off one by one. The Hizbul has reared its head. It will be dealt with. The state has never stopped learning contrary to what the press thinks.

But to expect the challenges in J and K to disappear in a day is to live in a fool’s paradise. Pakistan’s capacity to disrupt a durable peace in Jammu and Kashmir remains intact as long as Pakistani terrorists can breach the LoC and border at will. It is a lot harder to do so now but the ambition should be to make it impossible.

Peace in J and K is also directly related to India’s rise. International opinion has turned against terrorism, especially Pakistani terrorism. If India could manage the situation in the late 1980s and 1990s when the Great Powers were less approving of this country, there is no reason why it cannot sail through the present troubles with its robust world standing.

In any case, the situation is non-negotiable. J and K is an integral part of the country and no government can alter the situation. The best hope is to insulate Kashmir from Pakistani interference and slowly wean away the people from separatism. The P. V. Narasimha Rao government did some amazing thinking on Kashmir. The files should be available to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This too shall pass.