Thursday, June 2, 2011


By: Tahir Muzter

The three- member interlocutors team headed by journalist Dilip Padgaonkar was appointed by the centre in October last year. The appointment was consequent upon unparalleled uprising in Kashmir in 2010 which we remember as a year of killings. The two other members of team being academician Rdha Kumar and and former Central Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari In view of never ending Kashmir dispute together with the repeated unrest, turmoil and bloodshed in Kashmir in the name of Kashmir dispute appointment of the interlocutors , their assignment and their role is well understandable.
The centre also was not hesitant in making this aspect public that the team will find out a political solution to Kashmir problem, after having deliberations with political parties and groups, civil society non political unions and associations, cross section and so on. The team was given one year for submission o their report.
One very important thing to understand is the background of appointment of a team of interlocutors. What compelled Government of India to appoint three member team of interlocutors, for the first time in the 63 years of old Kashmir dispute. Basically it is not good governance, it is not election, it is not corruption free JK, it is not total economic dependence of Kashmir, it is not discrimination with the Muslims of J&K in the central offices and institutions, though according to the reports, these issues have come under discussion with the people and delegations whom the team met so far. But for these and for similar issues there have been many committees and their recommendations in the past. The team was appointed for much more important issue, as mentioned above.
New dimension of Kashmir dispute
Political solution to the Kashmir problem is not a must because this is an old dispute, and lakhs of people in Kashmir, are ready to do or die for its solution, and are off and on roads crying for its solution. There is another dimension, which is not generally discussed but requires an immediate attention. Even the people who are in favor of accession with India, want to live in Kashmir free from dispute, which is full of different sorts of trouble for them ,making their life a hell at different times. We must confess that these people are not only in Jammu and Ladakh, but lakhs in Kashmir too. They cannot be labeled as “separatist”. As such the dispute or its solution is not restricted to the valley of Kashmir only. Kashmir dispute is hanging in air for the past 63 years. Even weak Pakistan continues to play it even through terrorists, which time has proved.
Not Pakistan only, Kashmir dispute is practically Kashmir politics, practiced and played in Kashmir for the last six decades. World knows them as Hurriyatists Liberationists and whom India call SEPRATISTS”------the crux of the matter.
The big question is, can the interlocutors be successful in finding a political settlement of Kashmir without the deliberations with the people who are wrongly labeled “separatists”, but matter seriously in the solution of Kashmir There can be difference with Hurriyatists and Liberationists on their approach and actions and even on their ideology, but none can deny the fact that they represent the lakhs of people who come out on streets day a after day, facing bullets in the name of Kashmir dispute
To find out a political solution to the Kashmir problem is not as easy as Government of India has conceived it or the team is thinking now. It was a gigantic assignment which is expected to end with an equally gigantic disappointment. One can understand it well, in the light of latest statements issued by the interlocutors team. According to the team the interim report shall be released within three week. But till today they have not been able to have deliberations with Hurriyat and Libration leaders, who matter much in Kashmir politics. As stated by the team, discussions on political settlement of Kashmir dispute have been held with many mainstream leaders. But it is an open secret that in Kashmir mainstream leader, who have been rulers of Kashmir are treated as the agents of New Delhi, in Kashmir. They are working at the behest of central Government confirmed by the former Governor of Kashmir B K Nehru in his book years back. Even now Sawami Angnishvesh has said recently, that people sitting in new Delhi are actually running the show in Jammu Kashmir (GK17May). In the true picture of Kashmir politics right form Late Bakhshi Gulam Muhammad Omar Abduulah worked as the agents of New Delhi. Discussions with them on Kashmir matters almost nothing. It is not enough to describe Kashmir as Political issue, as Omar Abdullah generally utters. Right from 1953 to this date they all have been responsible for erosion of Kashmir’s special status which made relations of Kashmir from bad to worse with every erosion.
Meeting Sumo drivers, chowkidars , Saffron growers some representatives of some dozens unions and associations and societies. who according to the reports pleaded their professional problems, with the team in the name of Kashmir dispute is nothing but a mockery. Likewise talks with some selected members of civil society without general call to the civil society is nothing but contempt of the Kashmir civil society. These are the indications of gigantic disappointment of the gigantic assignment to the interlocutors team.
According to the statement of the interlocutors team, ( based on their study) Kashmir issue is being called as “issue” by one group and some call it “non issue and some put a not of introduction on it (GK, 18 May ) And if it is the reading of the team members, where is the representation of the people who call it “issue”---- and the people who according to the team put a not of introduction, are not they nearer to the people who call it as an “issue. Here arises the important question of deliberations with the people who are labeled as “separatists. No talks and deliberations on Kashmir can give you any dividend without sharing with these people whatever the result. It is the processes. If their point of view, is not supported by political background or is not logical. If it is really humbug, reject it and make it public.
Time has come that Hurriyatatis and Librationalists should reject the title of “Separatists”, out rightly, which they were supposed to do in the beginning, when it was floated by India, to wreck the Kashmir cause. But it required great political consciences and that too pro-Kashmir, and not with any sort of bent. This has proved a big hurdle in the solution of Kashmir issue, but helped only Pakistan in the long run. And the fact is that secession, even in the most beautiful language, cannot be acceptable to any sovereign country in the world, and India cannot be an exception. If interlocutors are ready to call them as librationists, there should be no hesitation in having deliberations, with whatever the result.
There is enough to prove that none in Kashmir is a separatist. There has been never any agitation in Kashmir demanding merger of Kashmir with Pakistan. There has been never any slogan for joining Pakistan part of Kashmir. Kashmir never discussed the fate of Gilgit-Baltistan---a part of Kashmir.
Hurriyats and Jammu Kashmir Libration front ask only for fulfilling the promises and commandments of India made with people of Kashmir---This can never be called “Separatism” No court in the world can blame the people of Kashmir or Hurriyats or Libration leaders for spreading “separatism”. It is India’s historical and political commitment that the people of Kashmir can go to the extent of asking India to walk and “Quit Kashmir. It is India’s -first Prime Minister’s statement, who was also the architect of Kashmir’s accession with India. He is recorded to have said:-
Kashmir is not the property of either India or Pakistan. It belongs to the Kashmiri people. When Kashir accessed to India. We made it clear to the leader of the Kashmir people that we sold ultimately abide by the verdict of their plebiscite. If they tell us walk out, I have no hesitation in quitting Kashmir-----( Indian Prime Minister’s statement as reported By the Amrat Bazar Patrica, Culcutta. January 2. 1950.) It is one among many such statements. Here this write-up of mine cannot afford to give one hundred and one such statements on the part of India.----------But one thing to add here about the wrong label….. “Separatism”.
If India is really interest in solving Kashmir problem, and if the mandate given to the Interoculars was based on really good –will, then there should be no objection to India and its interlocutors’ to change the “separatists” title into the Kashmir freedom Lovers, which they can be called in the light of the hundreds of the statements on the part of India.-----Change of opinion about so called “Separatists” is logical in the light of historical background, and obvious for finding a solution to the issue. In case the “separatists” continue to like call themselves as “ separatists, situation will remain always as it is today.
(Tahir Muztar is a Senior Journalist. Feedback at tahirmuzter.s )


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