It was yet another attempt to hoodwink Kashmiris and International opinion. The All Party Delegation (APD's) visit to J&K appeared destined to die its own death unceremoniously at the very outset. Usually, such significant missions are preceded by certain precursors.
The media is agog with telltale deliberate leaks days ahead. Media hype is high enough to create a ripple effect all around. The high uproar in Parliament by members cutting across their party and ideological affiliations culminating in a six hour long marathon discussion on Kashmir turmoil followed by an All Party Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister mounted pressure on the Central Government to announce APD visit. Things started moving thereafter though at a snails pace. While drawing up the list of invitees, mainstream political parties were given prominence. In the existing scenario, the leaders of the Resistance Camp are the key players and the most credible political outfit representing masses in Kashmir. The events of past two months provide sufficient evidence of their total and absolute control and command over prevailing situation in the valley. Securing their participation in the parleys was of paramount importance upon which the success or otherwise of the meeting would hinge. They enjoy unflinching support of the masses. Any discussion, deliberations or decision to their exclusion was bound to fail. Being already onboard, the views of mainstream parties have been reiterated time and again in various fora including Parliament. The present uprising is beyond their domain and dominance. The least one expected was a formal invitation letter to the leaders of Resistance Camp from leader of the delegation. The invite should have been dispatched well ahead along with copy of agenda. Nothing of the sort happened. Instead, an appeal signed by President of one of the participating parties was delivered at the residence / sub jail of one of the leaders. It belittled the significance of the APD as well as invitee. The other leaders of the Resistance Camp continued to languish in jail. Apparently, none other than the leader of the delegation had any locus standi to send the invite. Since success of APD literally hinged on the participation of Resistance Camp, it was only natural to set them free well in advance to enable them participate in the talks. Not doing so, perhaps intentionally, signaled that they never wanted seriously talks to proceed and succeed. A few members of the APD attempted to meet leaders of the Resistance Camp in their personal capacity either in cage or residence / sub jail. Their refusal to talk was along the expected lines to the embarrassment of honorable members. Inviting formally all members and ignoring the principle stakeholders is in noway "Jumhuriat". Visiting somebody uninvited who has been humiliated to the hilt or put in jail is neither Insaniat nor Kashmiriat. There is something called self-esteem which everybody holds close to his heart. However, the APD meeting proceeded to the exclusion of Resistance Camp leaders. What must have transpired is anybody's guess. All said and done, the proceedings san credibility. After living through turmoil for over two months, one had prayed for the success of APD hoping that peace would begin to dawn sooner than later. it wouldn't be a farfetched dream had the hosts done necessary spade work and with an open mind. It had raised everybody's expectations when statements like "Sky is the limit" or "They can ask for the moon within the framework of constitution" emanated from important Government or party functionaries well ahead of APD. Against the backdrop of such big and bold assertions, one is expected to have an element of flexibility on the negotiating table. K issue is so complex and tedious that nobody expects a magic wand to settle the matter in one go. It will take several multi-tire sessions to deliberate and discuss various dimensions of the problem. But, a well begun is half done.
The present uprising in Kashmir calls for utmost sensitivity to the issues involved, seriousness in approach, sincerity of purpose, strong political will and determination on the part of all stakeholders. What will it take New Delhi to be seriously and willingly committed to take the lid off numerous reports and recommendations on Kashmir issue submitted by various working groups from time to time. The reports are merely gathering dust in Home Ministry. Lack of political will has reduced them into shreds of paper. It would be simplest to synthesize all the reports and recommendations to pickup the commonalities from all of them. The recommendations of the recent APD could be dovetailed to the above to formulate a Working Paper for negotiations. Spirit of give and take by all concerned stakeholders could bring them to a common platform. At the end of the day, any scheme or solution that emerges has to be acceptable to the people of the state.
Kashmir streets have witnessed enough of death dance and bloodbath over the decades gone by. People are longing since long to see peace and tranquility, development and prosperity. The dubious reputation of a conflict zone may give way to a Prosperous Paradise. The think tank in New Delhi has invariably taken the stand that the "Clock" can't go back. If clock is not going ahead due to numerous hurdles, it can and should be reset to be in tune with time. This has been practiced by number of countries world over. One "wrong" has led to a chain of wrongs. The time is right to break the chain and vanquish the Ghost.
The communal polarization across the country is a recent phenomenon. It has penetrated so deep among some sections of people that they have become intolerant of other religious denominations living by their side. Some unfortunate and unpleasant utterances had occurrences have made minorities feel unsafe and insecure in their homeland. This has happened in a country which is known world over to have coexisted peacefully with other faiths over the centuries. The country boasts of world's largest secular democratic setup. It doesn't behoove anybody to cause cracks in this edifice. Every patriot has a duty to cement and strengthen this reputation and uphold cannons of nonviolence. Flexibility and spirit of accommodation having been given a go by, the present uprising possesses the potential of a bombshell which can transcend the territorial confines to the detriment of all stakeholders. Some segments have been hobnobbing with their resolve to teach Kashmiris a lesson. Such poisonous and inimical thinking does more harm to their own roots than to anybody else.
Hardened attitudes on both sides led to a disaster. The mission literally fizzled out. Trouble torn state can ill afford perpetuation of turmoil indefinitely. The hardships caused to a common man is heart rending. Almost every sphere of life has come to a grinding halt. People have exhibited enough resilience. Their patience is steadily wearing out. The leadership should think over such and other issues seriously and pragmatically.
After living through turmoil for over two months, one had prayed for the success of APD hoping that peace would begin to dawn sooner than later.