Talks only can break the ice

Every sane person in Kashmir wants that talks should be held and bloodshed should stop

Javaid Malik
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 22 2017 11:08PM | Updated Date: Sep 22 2017 11:08PM
Talks only can break the iceRepresentational Pic

Of late leaders of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party seem to have softened their tone vis-à-vis Kashmir. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who recently visited Jammu and Kashmir for 4-days before his arrival in the Valley had announced that he is ready to hold talks with anyone, and he has come to J&K with an open mind.

During his 2-day stay in Kashmir he met more than 30 delegations from different walks of life but none of the separatist leaders came forward to meet him. He winded up his Kashmir visit with a hope that normalcy would return to the Valley soon.

The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who met the BJP leaders in Kashmir, told reporters that Government of India is ready to hold talks with the Hurriyat leaders without any preconditions but he was quick to add that Kashmir belongs to India and Kashmiris need to be loved and embraced.

The BJP leaders have changed their tone since the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that “love not bullets” can resolve Kashmir. Since that day many leaders have openly said that Government of India is ready to hold talks. The BJP general secretary reiterated what Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said.      

The people sitting in New Delhi need to realize that biggest stakeholders are separatists, whom they have been ignoring since the day BJP  led NDA government has come into power at the Center. Now they want to talk. But the question is what would they talk? One thing is for sure that BJP leaders won’t talk Azadi and Pakistan with the separatists. Then what would they talk about? Weather or the possible solutions which could be worked out?

Every sane person in Kashmir wants that talks should be held and bloodshed should stop. But the problem is that there is no meeting point as for New Delhi Kashmir is a settled issue and in no way it’s a dispute. On the other hand for separatists Kashmir is a dispute and it needs to be settled once for all. So both the parties have extreme view points. The only meeting point could be that both India and separatists would have to show flexibility and adopt a midway. Then only talks could be possible.

 Separatists should realize that implementing United Nations resolutions at this point of time look like a distant dream and Indian leaders would never agree to it. On the other hand people sitting in New Delhi should stop harping “attot-ang” and give peace a chance by inviting separatists as well as the militant leadership for talks. If the GoI can hold talks with Naga rebels why cannot it hold talks with Kashmiri militant leaders and separatists?

New Delhi has to decide what could be the midway and what all concessions can it give then only talks would be possible. The BJP leaders who these days are claiming that their government is ready to hold a dialogue need to realize that Jammu and Kashmir is not like other states. It has got a special status and it’s a state which shares a common border with Pakistan and China. 

Recently Kashmir’s joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, issued a statement that they are not averse to the talks provided these are held for resolving the Kashmir issue. There was no immediate response to the statement from New Delhi but for past one month BJP leaders are stating that their doors are open for talks.

One thing is for sure that separatists won’t go and seek the appointment from the people sitting in New Delhi to begin the talks. It’s Delhi which has to show magnanimity and invite the Kashmiri leaders for talks. People at the helm should realize that even their predecessors, including the then Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, had held talks with Hurriyat leaders. Many people believe that talks are the only way out and until parleys are not held nothing can be achieved. Through force Delhi can enforce peace but there is no guarantee about how long would this enforced peace last. 

BJP leaders have to change their approach towards Kashmir and Kashmiri leaders. They have to change their mindset and need to understand that Kashmiri leaders Geelani, Mirwaiz, Yasin Malik and others are not untouchables. They (BJP) leaders fear that if they hold talks with Kashmiri separatist leaders it would be against the “national interest” and they would be labeled as traitors but the fact is that they have to rise above the petty politics being played over Kashmir and have to act like statesmen. It’s Delhi which has to make a beginning to embrace Kashmiris rather than waiting for Kashmiri leaders to knock at their doors.

New Delhi has to break the jinx and come forward rather than talking through media. On the other hand Kashmiri leaders should realize that talking to New Delhi is no sin as India is the main party vis-à-vis Kashmir and its New Delhi which has to concede and give concessions. 

(Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir) 

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