Yashwant Sinha led group of 'concerned citizens' and former NSA in Delhi; Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, all are exhorting Modi government to initiate talks with the stake-holders' in Kashmir, to arrest the deteriorating situation which has consumed lives of so many young and old. Reference to the Agenda of Alliance which forms a basis for the present PDP-BJP state government is, additionally, made to buttress the point. Rightly they say, let the tongue do the talking rather than delegate it to the gun.
There is no substitute to the talks. But there has to be someone to talk to. Who are the 'stake holders' ? The question defies answer. Thanks to the Central Government, Pakistani security and intelligence agencies, separatists and the mainstream political players, the tribe of ' stake holders ' in J&K is growing by leaps and bounds. So much so that the 'real' stake holder is lost in the way. As if there was any dearth in the tribe, a person in Delhi has created one more category of the stake holders.
It is a tragedy that after losing power the mainstream political class has preferred to stoke fire in the Valley. Then we have a post – retirement brigade of the public servants, who seem to have acquired wisdom the night after relinquishing a plum government post . While enjoying fruits of administrative power and pelf, attached to their statutory and Constitutional posts, these columnists, now, see everything bad which they, conveniently, overlooked or failed to take care of when in power. They go on pontification without making an effort to come out with a solution to salvage the deteriorated situation. It is time for them to give up reticence and come out with a clear solution. True, the State faces a complex challenge where we can't have a straight jacketed solution. Nonetheless, an attempt has be made. It could start with a sort of interlocution between the agitating youth and the political class. Or else, we can say same about them which a journalist has said about the retired generals and ambassadors of our neighboring country.
Commenting upon the present activism of former ambassadors and Army Generals for democracy and abhorrence towards Military rule, Pakistani author and journalist Raza Rumi writes in his book Factitious Path – Pakistan's Democratic Transition " many a former ambassador, the recent cohort to jump into the fray of political activism, has found a great post – retirement vocation. Once the plush tenures are over and all that could be extracted from the holy state cow has been extracted now is the time to speak the truth and condemn military dictatorship. Convenient and opportune !"
Coming back to the question of ' Stake holders', many feel that Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Miwaiz Umar Farooq still hold a considerable sway over the "the misguided youth" and can influence their actions. Both of them and many others, if approached, could play a positive role in restoration of peace in the Valley – peace for resolution of the 'political issue'. The process could start with an appeal to the youth to shun path of stone pelting and take one to the school. By then, hopefully, we may be able to find real stake holders, so as to pressurise the state authorities to come forward for a meaningful and result oriented talks with them. We trust, the displaced Pandit, original inhabitant, will find himself among those stake holders.
(B L Saraf is Principal District & Session Judge firstname.lastname@example.org)