Outreach Is The Answer

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In his recent speech in the parliament, the home minister Amit Shah has said that those against India in Kashmir should have fear in their hearts.  He didn’t appear to set much store by the talks with Hurriyat. “Those having intentions to set the state on fire, having intentions to separate Kashmir from India and those who want to promote separatism in the state, I want to tell them. They are in fear and there should be fear in their hearts,” the home minister said. 

This came as an anti-climax to the earlier euphoric welcome  to the Hurriyat’s  readiness for dialogue  by the J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik.  Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had made similar noises. He said if centre were to offer talks,  Hurriyat will positively respond. 

Now if we go by the home minister’s statement in the parliament, the centre doesn’t seem to be interested in an engagement with Hurriyat. The home minister is rather  intent on a political outreach which necessarily doesn’t extend to the separatists. No invite has been extended to them for talks.  In fact, the onus for engagement has been placed on the Hurriyat itself. Should they be interested, they will have to present themselves before New Delhi rather than vice versa. This has hardly left any scope for any contact with them.

Shah’s recent visit to the Valley is seen as a part of the Centre’s incremental and multi-pronged strategy to deal with Kashmir: a tough military response to the militancy, a sustained effort to choke the funding of the separatist movement and the militancy through action against Hurriyat leaders and the people allied to them and a political outreach geared directly towards the youth and civil society’. The visit was seen as one part of a multi-pronged strategy – a combined security, economic and political approach-  to tackle the Kashmir turmoil.

But the Valley, on the other hand, would rather want the centre to grapple with the larger political issues underpinning the turmoil in the state.  It is argued that unless New Delhi upgrades its future initiative to take on the larger political dimension of Kashmir issue, little is going to change. The aspects of development, governance and regional grievances can best be left to the state government to be sorted out. True Kashmir problem has a layered reality within the state with an inherent conflict among the regions and within the regions themselves, but this is not what triggers separatist uprisings and the violence in the state. What triggers is the festering political issue. So, it is this issue that needs dealt with, rest will fall into place. It is therefore important that a dialogue with Hurriyat is instituted at the earliest, to be taken forward in time with talks with Pakistan.  A meaningful peace process would certainly make a redeeming difference to the situation.
 


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