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Experts say "sentimental side" of Kashmir protests, autonomy must be addressed

By Nitsi

New Delhi, Aug.20 (ANI): An experts meeting on "The present crisis in Kashmir Valley" today suggested that there is an urgent need to address the "sentimental side" of the protesting Kashmiris besides seriously addressing the autonomy issue "feasible under realistic parameters".

The meeting, organised by New Delhi headquartered think tank, Observer Research Foundation, noted that once the internal dimension of the problem is taken care of, the external dimension will also fall in line.

It was suggested setting up of a panel headed by somebody like former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand to address the autonomy issue of Kashmiris.

The meeting also suggested appointing former diplomat G Parthasarathy or someone like him to negotiate with Kashmiri leaders on issues like autonomy and related matters.

The meeting was attended by former J and K Governor Girish Chandra Saxena , former chiefs of R and AW chief A.S. Dulat, TV Rajeswar, Vikram Sood, , author Prem Shankar Jha, Member of Parliament H.K. Dua, security experts, Kashmiri representatives, journalists who had been covering Kashmir, and others.

Noting that the Centre had been talking to Kashmiri leaders even during bad times, the experts wondered why the government has stopped talking to them. "If the Indian state does not know when to speak and whom to speak, then something is terribly wrong," an expert, who had been associated with talks with Kashmiri leaders since 90s, said. Another expert pointed out that most of the moderate leaders are in jail while militants are trying to take over the situation.

"If you won't talk to moderate (leaders), then hardliners will take over," he pointed out. It was suggested that the Centre should recreate conditions to resume the talks urgently because the people who are protesting are no more political activists or religious leaders but young men and women.

They were also surprised that there had been no political response from the National Conference which had won all the Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the last election.

"Why CRPF was sent to go to the gullies of Sri Nagar to fight stone-pelters while it was in fact to assist the J and K police?" one of the speakers asked while another commented that if he was the Commander-in-Chief, he would hire a truck to load all the stones lying in the open.

The experts said there is a big disconnect and lack of trust between Delhi and Kashmir following a decline in the promised autonomy to the state.

There was also a strong view that the Congress Party should keep away from sharing power in the State. Some experts suggested a change of guard as the present Chief Minister has failed in providing effective governance and bungled one after another.

Describing the unrest as "home grown anger"against mis-governance and for justice, it was said that Pakistan is no more a key player in Kashmir as it finds no support among the people. (ANI)

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