CPI-M leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami says Pakistan's appeal is increasing in the Kashmir Valley and that India must talk to Islamabad to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
The lone Communist member of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, Tarigami has also described the current unrest in the valley as a reflection of "a much deeper sense of alienation" from India.
Saying militancy in the state now had a new face, Tarigami told the CPI-M journal "People's Democracy" that the slogan of 'azadi', "which means an independent Kashmir, has a huge attraction.
"At the same time, Islamisation is taking place. Pakistan's appeal is also increasing. Until now this was not so," said Tarigami, a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist's Central Committee. "Militants now have much wider support."
Tarigami, elected from Kulgam in southern Kashmir, the worst hit region in the current unrest, said: "Obviously, the only way to come out of the present crisis is the path of dialogue.
"(The) dialogue has to involve all the forces at the national level and all the stakeholders in the state level.
"At the same time, dialogue with Pakistan is necessary. It is a question of assuaging Kashmiris' feeling of being under occupation and being discriminated against.
"It will need a huge, concerted and creative effort. Unfortunately, the present government at the Centre does not give much room for hope," Tarigami said.
Over 50 people have been killed and thousands injured — almost all of them civilians — in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the valley since a militant commander was killed on July 8.
The Marxist leader accused successive governments in New Delhi of neglecting the Kashmir problem.
"Successive governments have made, at the best, some half-hearted efforts in addressing the people's sense of alienation."
At the same time, he pointed out that an "environment of anti-minority witch-hunt" was being created across India.
This, he said, "has had its own negative impact on the psyche of Kashmiri Muslims".