Modi believes in one way communication while the rest of the party appears helpless before him.
Calling New Delhis policy towards Kashmir a bundle of confusion, former BJP senior leader Yashwant Sinha cites the handling of Kashmir situation by the Modi-led government as one of the reasons for his disenchantment prompting him to resign from the party.
Sinha, who led several delegations to Kashmir following 2016 unrest in the wake of the killing of militant sensation Burhan Wani, says Prime Minister Modi believes in one way communication while the rest of the party appears to be helpless before him.
Commenting on the Modis refusal to meet him, Sinha said that by not meeting him, he (Modi) has lost a major opportunity to understand Kashmir issue describing the loss as entirely his.
Dispelling the notion that India and Pakistan reached an agreement over Kashmir during the Pakistan President Musharrafs visit to India in 2001 when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, Sinha attributes the failure of talks to the Musharrafs rigid attitude and grandstanding before the Indian editors though admitting there are elements on both sides ready to derail the peace process.
Calling the senior journalist Shujaat Bukharis murder as an act of cowardice, he said the killing gives an opportunity to some elements to pin the blame on Indian agencies wondering how anyone could come to a conclusion so quickly.
While talking to Farooq Shah of the Kashmir Observer, Sinha said the recent UN report on Kashmir has further complicated the matters expressing hope that the resolution of Kashmir has not hit a dead end and a constructive dialogue even at this stage will produce fruitful results.
Excerpts from the interview:
During the 2016 summer unrest, you led a team to Kashmir twice, prepared a report and sent it to the Prime Minister Modi without getting any response from the PMO. What happened to the recommendations your team put forth in the report?
I was a member of the Concerned Citizens Group which visited Jammu and Kashmir four times since 2016. We have carefully prepared our report after our each visit and made recommendations for action. Some recommendations have been acted upon while some are still pending.
During an interview with an online portal you said that India has lost the people of the Valley emotionally. Have we not hit a dead-end with regard to the resolution of Kashmir issue then?
During our interaction with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, specially the Kashmir valley, we met a large number of people. Many of them were emotionally disturbed and blamed the government of India for the situation. We have not hit a dead end. I am confident that a constructive dialogue even at this stage will produce fruitful results.
Is the Prime Minister Modi getting a bit too big for his boots by disallowing a meeting with a public figure of your stature? Your statement, This is my own Prime Minister who has treated me like this, paints entirely a different image of the current BJP as compared to that of Vajpayee times?
Vajpayee government was very different in its behaviour and outlook than the present government. By not meeting me, the Prime Minister has lost a major opportunity to understand the issue of Jammu & Kashmir better and the loss is entirely his.
What were the main reasons that led you to quit the party you were a founding member of? Is there a Kashmir connection to your resignation?
I am not a founding member of party, yet I left it with a heavy heart. It is no more the party of Atal-Advani that I had joined. The governments handling of the Jammu and Kashmir issue was also a reason for my disenchantment.
Isnt it suggestive of the fact that New Delhi has no policy on Kashmir beyond rhetoric? Apart from Mann ki Baat, Prime Minister Modi has not conducted even a single press conference during four years in office?
The governments policy towards Jammu & Kashmir is a bundle of confusion. The Prime Minister believes in one way communication. The rest of the party leadership appears to be helpless in front of him.
Its believed India and Pakistan almost resolved Kashmir issue when former Pakistan President General Musharaff and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee nearly reached an agreement in 2001. What went wrong?
This information is not correct. There was no such almost agreement in 2001.
L K Advani was architect of the Agra summit between India and Pakistan in July 2001 and he was its destroyer, A S Dulat, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, said in an interview. Would you agree?
This is a completely wrong allegation against L.K Advani. Why should he first propose the Agra summit and then sabotage it? The Agra summit failed because of Musharrafs rigid attitude and grandstanding before the Indian editors.
Youve been critical to the statements made by various politicians and even the army chief Mr Rawat when he said Will use weapons on locals interfering in anti-terror ops. Do you think theres a deliberate ploy to keep the Kashmir pot boiling?
Weapons and violence alone have never solved any problem. I believe in Pyar ki Boli rather than Bandook ki Goli.
Notwithstanding Delhis outright denial to talk to Hurriyat leaders, how far do you think Hurriyat has a role to play in the Kashmir dialogue and is there any possibility of trilateral talks?
The Home Minister of the government of India has already stated, though belatedly, that this government is prepared to talk to the Hurriyat leadership. Trilateral talks are not feasible at this stage.
Do the recent hostilities between the two nuclear-armed neighbours hint at difficult times ahead? Is it a deliberate attempt by either of the two or by both to derail the peace process and what for?
India and Pakistan have committed themselves to observing the ceasefire on the international border and the Line of Control. Despite violations, this is a step in the right direction. But I agree that there are elements on both sides ready to derail the peace process.
India has out-rightly rejected the first ever UN report on Kashmir saying its findings are overtly prejudiced. Do you think India should have welcomed the UN report, and acted on its findings, including providing access to the UN human rights office?
We are interested in peace in Jammu and Kashmir and friendship with Pakistan. The report of the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN has rightly been rejected by India. The Commissioner has only complicated matters further by issuing this report.
The killing of the senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari has shocked one and all. Calling for an international probe, Pakistan has linked his killing to the release of UN report on Kashmir. Separatists and all the militant outfits have denounced his killing. Whats your personal reading into the journalists killing?
Shujaat Bukharis murder is an act of cowardice. It gives an opportunity to some elements to pin the blame on Indian agencies. How can anyone come to a conclusion so quickly? I would like to wait for the findings of the investigation which is going on in this case, but neither the report of the Human Rights Commissioner nor the killing of Shujaat Bukhari augurs well for the future of peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Violence must be stopped at all cost. I appeal to everyone to facilitate the peace process instead of sabotaging it.
Do you think the new emerging regional order holds some promise of bringing peace to the region? How long shall India afford to miss out on the partnerships considering China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and other Central Asian countries would be tied together via CPEC, at least economically?
India is a big country. It has its own connectivity plans for the region. It has a principled objection to the CPEC and China should consider Indias point of view with the seriousness it deserves.
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