After another Uprising Indian Government resorted to its last option ‘dialogue’ to bring back ‘normalcy’ in Kashmir. Since July 8 2016, when famous militant commander Burhan Wani got killed in an alleged encounter by Indian security forces, it has been a tough time for state as well as central government to settle down the nerves. It has been a norm for Government of India since 1989, whenever anything happens in Kashmir which force people to come on to the roads New Delhi comes up with new dialogue.
Simultaneously, The Indian Government has been going hard on the armed groups and had also said that militancy will be wiped out by the end of this year. Going by the Policy of iron fist, the Indian Government forces were able to hunt down more than 130 Rebels. The Indian state Forces reacted to the growing restlessness among youth with a policy of clampdown on Kashmir with an iron grip. They have been killing rebels constantly and arresting people which many analysts believe will just reduce the supporters of India in Kashmir. Moreover in the absence of any political solution, the youth have become restless and their anger against the state has intensified and so has their love for the armed struggle.
No doubt in any conflict the best way to solve is dialogue. But only when the efforts are sincere and you have the willingness to solve it. Indian Government never had any positive intention to resolve the Kashmir Dispute; they always tried to contain the anger on streets, hence this
conflict. They never came up with sincere efforts other than the party political interests. Be it NDA, UPA or current BJP government. Indian Political parties are caught up between electoral politics and ultra-nationalism. In this confusion they don’t even realise the mistakes they make while dealing with issue like Kashmir. Indian State is unclear whether to accept Kashmir as political dispute or internal problem, for example since the time when BJP came to the power in New Delhi they refused to talk to Pro freedom leaders in Kashmir and called them non entity. But after the killing of Burhan Wani they started sending delegations to Kashmir, even after that they called Pro Freedom leaders irrelevant.
This is not the first time that Indian government is confused in calling pro freedom leaders as non-entities or stake holders or calling Kashmir an internal problem and try to keep Pakistan out of it. While as Pakistan is equally very important ally if they want to resolve Kashmir Issue. But the reality is Indian government may come up with rhetoric every time of being Kashmir as an internal issue but on International level they have always agreed to start a dialogue, though it never reached to any conclusion because of the lack of sincere efforts and will to solve it.
Be it Prime Minister Nehru’s initiative Swaran Singh-Bhutto talks in early 1960, Indira Gandhi’s Simla Agreement, Rajiv Gandhi’s talks with Benazir Bhutto. Narsima Rao or I. K. Gujral’s Doctrine nothing worked in favour of Kashmir or Kashmiri’s is a general feeling in Kashmir. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who made few attempts in 1990s to reset the relations with Pakistan and give a sigh of relief to Kashmiris. But perhaps he also succumbed to the pressure of party politics and “ultra-nationalism”. In 2004-05 Dr Manmohan Singh started round table dialogue with all pro-freedom leaders but as always nothing comes out of it, except Sajad Lone’s document ‘Achievable Nationhood’ which made his relations with New Delhi very comfortable and now he is repeating the benefits as being minister in PDP-BJP government in Kashmir.
The most recent activity by New Delhi was interlocutors who visited valley after 2010 uprising and met all the people in valley. The report they submitted to Home Ministry was clearly stating the mistrust of people of Kashmir towards New Delhi. Now the new interlocutor who has been appointed by BJP government to initiate talk with all stake holders is bound to fail yet again. The general feeling on the ground is that Its once again a futile exercise by New Delhi. After 2016 uprising New Delhi’s iron fist policy and the ‘Operation all out’ completely failed in Kashmir.
The appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor saw lot of criticism by different political factions in India as well as in Kashmir. He is a bureaucrat and former spy it will be difficult for anyone to trust his intensions. Making an ex-IB chief as interlocutor and giving him chance to lead dialogue is another diversion from present government in India. His recent statements after the appointment as interlocutor are not very helpful for New Delhi. He sounds like a spokesperson of New Delhi rather than the interlocutor.
In view of past history, emotions, disagreements, violence, wars and failure of negotiations, it is not easy to specify the outlines of solutions. However, as the past seven decades have clearly shown, the Kashmir Issue cannot be solved by war, force or violence or deceiving
policies. To solve Kashmir Issue people in New Delhi need to have a clear approach and sincere efforts in getting on board all the stake holders. Dialogue will not produce anything concrete till Pakistan and all principal parties sit together.
If New Delhi really want to solve the Kashmir dispute, they need to address following important issues as soon as possible.
Arrests, NIA raids, Iron fist policies and dialogue cannot go together. Dialogue without inclusion of Pakistan wont sustain. To have a sustained dialogue it should be unconditional, pro freedom leadership needs to be released, acknowledgement of Kashmir as a political dispute.
Rayees Rasool is a Human Rights Defender