'Unity and affection
were the pivotal words during my interaction with other political parties on
the Kashmir issue. Those who are inciting the Kahsmiri youth for indulging in
violent clashes and stone pelting will have to answer someday and those who
have died in the ongoing phase of unrest in Kashmir are Indians' - prime minister
Narendra Modi said on August 28, making his changed stand on Jammu &
Kashmir loud and clear - once again. He was addressing the nation through his
monthly radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
It was continuing his efforts to initiate a dialogue process
to find a solution to the Kashmir problem that will be acceptable to the
stakeholders who see a point here. Before this, even in the meeting with the
united front of the Jammu & Kashmir opposition parties on August 22, he had
said that development alone was not the solution and dialogue was a must.
To extend Modi's initiative, home minister Rajnath Singh
held meetings with some eminent Indians before his visit to Kashmir earlier this
week to prepare the groundwork for the peace initiative. During his two-day
stay there he met with all the stakeholders involved and even indicated that he
was ready to meet the separatists (which the separatists refused). An all party
delegation is slated to visit the Valley soon.
But Kashmir unrest is not a problem that alone the central
government can resolve. The elected state government, being the representative
of the state's people, is the primary interface here through which the central
government can push any initiative further and therefore both the governments
need to act in unison.
Something that is not happening.
India has accused Pakistan of fomenting the Kashmir unrest
but J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti is still appealing to Pakistan to help in resolving
the Kashmir imbroglio if the country is really concerned with Kashmiris'
plight. Now even a child can understand the Pakistani plot here. The whole
Kashmir problem is Pakistan created. While Mehbooba is still trying to court
Pakistan, the Narendra Modi government has made it very clear that it will not
talk to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Instead, Pakistan should rein in the
anti-India elements on its soil and should stop anti-India propaganda.
These paradoxical approaches to the Kashmir problem have
always been obstacles to find any solution. It has been consistently seen that
the state governments of J&K and the state politicians have been advocating
to make Pakistan a party in the Kashmir peace process because it appeases a
section voters there, voters who form the core of mobs in case whenever there
is a situation of unrest whereas the Indian stand from Delhi has been
unambiguous putting it firmly that the whole J&K is India's integral part
and if there is any problem, it is India's internal matter and will be resolved
accordingly. Though Kashmir has been the main issue between India and Pakistan
and the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi has been treating the J&K
separatists like some VVIPs, it should be seen as the part of democratic
processes only that define India's founding principles. The Kashmir rant in
India-Pakistan bilateral ties has always had a Pakistani imprint.
Now that the Indian government has firmly said that no talks
with Pakistan would be held on the Kashmir issue, the state government, too,
should try to find a way out within this framework only. Pakistan understands
that it cannot take Kashmir from India - either in a war or by promoting proxy
wars. But it needs Kashmir to divert attention from its domestic problems as
well as to nurture anti-India sentiments that give legitimacy to the political
roles its military establishment plays.
The country, in fact, is feeling desperate after Narendra
Modi's open dare that India would now raise human rights and atrocity issues in
Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Baluchistan on international platforms, something
that is getting good traction among the Baluch activists spread across the
Sending its parliamentarians to different countries to
highlight the Kashmir issue, getting an anti-India statement issued from the
Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), giving active patronage to
terrorists wanted in India to spew venom against India and mentoring and
tutoring the J&K separatists - these steps indicate how insecure Pakistan
is feeling now - so much so that Kashmir has started dictating its foreign
policy just not with India but across the world.
The J&K politicians and the state government should see
through it. That is a must for any peace process initiated by the centre to
bear fruit. Dialogue is the only way forward but both the state government and
the central government should understand that they should not send conflicting
signals as it would be like playing in the hands of anti-India elements and the
J&K separatists who keep on inciting the Valley protests.
The J&K politicians who take part in India's electoral
politics must sing the Indian tune and not the Pakistan's national anthem.
Why it is that some J&K politicians find India an easy
target to blame while their silence on Pakistan is deafening?
Why it is that they never talk of PoK atrocities and
If Pakistan is out of the ambit of the talks, both the
governments should speak the same. The government of India had given the
separatists a chance when Rajnath Singh had invited them but the separatists
who now openly endorse Pakistan, how can they be expected to be part of
Meanwhile, Kashmir continues to burn.
August 27 marked the 50 days of violence in the Valley that
began after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burwan Wani was killed in a police
encounter. The death toll in the Valley so far stands around 70 which include
mainly the young protesters. The ongoing unrest has left thousands injured and
many have become crippled. Both the dead, as well as the injured, include
security personnel as well. Educational institutions and businesses remain
closed. Trade and industry bodies peg the loss at Rs. 6000 crore. But the
actual loss will be manifold as the tourism industry, the mainstay of J&K
economy, which had started witnessing
some activity, is gone again and the simmering tension says it will be some years
of consistent healing before it can see some positive signs.