As the vexed Kashmir question continues to elude answer even after the abrogation of Article 370 and reports of unpleasant incidents keep trickling down from the valley, restoration of the democratic process appears to be the only way forward.

This was the consensus most of the panelists of the debate at The Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting and The Cushrow Irani Prize for Environmental Reporting at Kala Mandir today veered around. The debated topic at the panel discussion on ‘Has India Regained the Kashmir Plot’ remained inconclusive.

The arduous task the dispensation in Delhi faces now was assessed by BJP ideologue Seshadri Chari, veteran journalist Ajoy Bose, Trinamul Congress MP Sougata Roy, Faizan Mustafa a jurist. Leading journalist Karan Thapar moderated the proceedings.

In the backdrop of a situation in which Kashmir has been hitting the headlines consistently for quite some time, Editor and Managing Director of The Statesman, Ravindra Kumar initiated the panel discussion.

The abrogation of Article 370 goes against the text and spirit of the Constitution, Mustafa said after Thapar asked whether it was an act of “trickery” on the part of the BJP government.

Contending that the abrogation had rode roughshod over the will of the Kashmiri people, Roy pointed out that passing a resolution in Parliament does not earn it the support of the people. Underscoring his point, he asked whether Union home minister Amit Shah, a great votary of abrogation of Article 370, would support the 1975 Emergency, the resolution of which had also been passed in the Parliament.

The contention that Kashmiris had faith in democracy for the past 70 years and have lost it in the past few days does not stand to reason, Chari said.

The abrogation of Article 370 seeks to honour unkept promises by successive governments. With security forces and intelligence agencies calling the shots in Kashmir for a long time, the recent development has evoked a feeling of despondency amongst the Kashmiris, Bose said.