THE Indian army chief General V. K. Singhs call for a political solution of the unending wave of protests in Held Kashmir - a solution that, he says, should take all the people together, stands to reason. On the face of it, it would indicate that the army has, after all, reached the conclusion that it is futile to carry on with the operation, as even the suppression of the worst kind has failed to subdue the Kashmiris indomitable urge for freedom. But his rationale for a political solution somehow stems from the strange logic that since militarily, we have brought the overall security situationunder control, it is time to move towards reaching a political understanding with the people. If he believed in his thesis of 'the situation under control, one wonders how would he account for the unending anti-state street demonstrations, set off by the death of a 17-year youth at the hands of the occupation forces on June 11? The use of coercive force has failed to quell the public anger; rather, these protests have grown in strength and caused 10 more deaths. The Generals disagreement of any attempt at 'withdrawing or diluting the inhuman Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives his service personnel complete immunity against prosecution for any measure they adopt to crush the popular revolt, is hardly the incentive for the people to reach any solution. As an army chief engaged in the operation, General Singh should know why the local police, whom he wants to play a more active role, are not coming forward energetically to put down the freedom struggle. They are from the people, and with them they want to get rid of the Indian yoke. One would expect that the General would sit down with his countrys political leadership and together they would dispassionately try to pinpoint the course India should take to reach a political solution that 'takes all people along. There is little doubt that leaders of commonsense, which undoubtedly the Indians are, would reach the logically inevitable conclusion that the way to elicit the peoples opinion is through an impartial vote, which does not have to be invented. And under the circumstances of an acute trust deficit between India and Pakistan on the one hand, and India and Kashmiris on the other, the only acceptable way would be to hold free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices, as explicitly outlined in the relevant UNSC resolutions. Raising the bogey of terrorist training camps existing on the Pakistani side of Kashmir and continued infiltration were only diversionary tactics that do not make for any political solution that could last long. A down-to-earth approach and meaningful talks with Islamabad are the best possible ways to work out the modalities of conducting an impartial vote of the Kashmiri people.