New Delhi's approach towards Kashmir dispute has always been bemusing. This time it is Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who has added salt to the injuries by asking pro-freedom leaders to talk to the State Government, if they are interested.
Only Rajnath Singh can answer better why he is intentionally trying to provoke Kashmiris and undermine the cause and strength of separatists. It is not a few individuals who are preaching an ideology, Hurriyat leaders are actually representing a cause, which has legitimacy at all levels.
The way Rajnath Singh has offered talks to Hurriyat, it gives a sense as if Hurriyat leaders have been begging all along for the same. Rajnath Singh seems to be much curious to humiliate Kashmiris, as he asks them to talk to a State Government, which has mandate not even to release a single political prisoner, or pass single such law in the assembly that doesn't suit Delhi.
A very simple question that needs to be answered is that if Hurriyat leaders have talked to then Home Minister L. K. Advani, Yasin Malik and Sajad Lone have talked to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but all this has yielded nothing, except making their integrity doubtful, what wonders can their talks with State Government do. New Delhi offered them nothing except a cup of tea and providing an opportunity for a photo session.
One wonders if UN Resolutions, Shimla and Tashkent Agreement, Lahore Declaration, Indra-Abdullah Accord, talks between militant commanders and the GoI, Sajad Lone's becoming a Minster and Indo-Pak dialogue having proved a futile exercise, how can a dialogue between Hurriyat and State Government be of any value.
In fact New Delhi is trying to demoralise Kashmiris by undermining the importance of pro-freedom leaders. Rajnath Singh needs to answer if the Centre has ditched the State Government when it asked for restoration of autonomy, return of power projects, revocation of AFSPA and over many other things, how come could any puppet government resolve the bigger political issue.
If the State Government couldn't get even the mortal remains of Afzal Guru back, and is being run at the dictates of junior clerks of Home Ministry, how come could it make a breakthrough if it starts dialogue with Hurriyat leaders. Delhi needs to understand that even complete restoration of autonomy may not help, as Kashmiris want a resolution to the dispute outside the Constitution of India.
Rajnath's offer has no takers in Kashmir but he is trying to give an impression that Hurriyat leaders are not so important, forgetting that the respect they are getting is only because of the ideology and sentiment they follow. Even if all Hurriyat leaders join the so called mainstream, and attain power, it will surely not help New Delhi, as the problem is so deep rooted that it is not within the competence of any leader to change the discourse of history, without resolving the issue.
Let us understand that Hurriyat leaders are the creation of sentiment, and sentiment is not their creation. It is worth mentioning that people rejected people like Geelani and late Lone Sahab as mass leaders in pre 1989 era, as they could hardly win their own seats, with thin margin, in the assembly elections, and could never make it to the Parliament. But when they talked of sentiment they got respect and support from all regions. 2008 and 2010 mass uprisings should have acted as eye-openers for Delhi, as masses forced leaders to follow them but it seems that Delhi has decided to deal with the things only with might and arrogance.
By asking Hurriyat leaders to talk to State Government it has harmed none but itself as it has insulted the institution of dialogue. Kashmiris have already lost faith in dialogue process as even UN Resolutions and all other bi-lateral agreements between parties have failed.
Asking Hurriyat leaders to talk to those whom they believe puppets of Indian state, and representatives and proxies of Delhi in Kashmir, hardcore and radical elements have got another strong reason to ask Kashmiris not to believe those who talk about talks.