Re-Engaging Kashmir

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Kashmir, the heaven on earth in the words of Pt Nehru, has been witnessing a series of events which have seen the lives of innocents to be surrounded by brutalities fanned by opportunists and hate mongers. The worst floods that hit Kashmir in 2015, did not see a upliftment in the lives of those who suffered, when the Separatists and the Militants waged a war with the Indian establishment.

The issue of Kashmir has been heart lamenting for any ordinary civilian who would not be able imagine their lives amidst such conflict. The parties in Kashmir, mainly the National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti has been, so far unable to address the concerns of underdevelopment and need to make a case for why India!

The Kashmir problem was earlier in 2010 by the initiative of the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh was given a push for finding a political solution to the issue. In the same direction a three member interlocutory group consisting of late journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, Prof. M. M. Ansari,  the then Information Commissioner and Prof. (Mrs) Radha Kumar, trustee of Delhi Policy Group. This high-powered group invited all the stakeholders including the Separatists for a dialogue to the Kashmir issue. But the negotiations failed and then the NDA took the reigns of power.

In his address from the Red Fort last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that there has to be a political solution to the Kashmir problem which will never be an outcome of guns and abuses but only of dialogue. Not only the PM but the Home Minister, Rajnath Singh has also time and again talked of the Vajpayee formula of ‘Jamooriyat-Kashmiriyat-Insaaniyat’ to address the concerns of the state.

The most peculiar aspect of the state remains that it is three regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, all of them being autonomous and inhabited by people belonging to different religious and cultural landscapes. The issues broadly remain one of lack of opportunity, disintegration, identity crisis and governance.

In a recent comment the DGP of Kashmir Mr Shesh Paul Vaid, said that the political parties in Kashmir are dancing to the tunes played by the Separatists and don’t hold a sympathetic view towards the Indian government.

The events that have spurred violence and the existing state of affairs even today which smacks of resentment and dissent, has been addressed by the Indian government by appointing 1989 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor who will hold talks with all the stakeholders and find a political solution to the problem of Kashmir.

The officer has a wide range of experience of Kashmir, and has also headed the IB. The man at the charge has to his credit the fruitful negotiations with the Manipuri Naga rebels and has closely worked with the Kashmir Office in the national capital as Assistant Director.

NSA Ajit Doval, is known to have handpicked the man for the job for his credentials of being a good negotiator, apart from the same his know how about the J&K. The Congress did not leave this opportunity again to criticise Modi, but the move deserves a round of applause.

The step has been appreciated by various quarters and the onerous responsibility given to Mr Sharma is ample proof of his expertise in J&K affairs. He has been given the full authority to choose whom to negotiate with and has a good rapport with the military establishment.

General Bipin Rawat has also maintained that the tough stance of the Indian Army to control the situation in Kashmir will not be relaxed following Mr Sharma’s appointment but yes, he hopes to facilitate the process within all that he can do.

With a possibility of addressing the aspirations of the State, we expect Mr Sharma to iron out differences and promote a wider and integrative approach towards the people of Kashmir, who are Indians in denial.

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