There are allegations and counter allegations over the release of Masrat Alam, a top separatist leader. The PDP in Kashmir states that this is just one step in opening up the channel for talks with the separatists, but the bigger question is will it have any impact and can they be brought on board?
How much of an impact does the release of one Masrast Alam have considering that they are 100s such persons in the Valley? Can the Hurriyat Conference be brought on board considering it is a divided house.
Oneindia discusses the effects of releasing Alam and also speaks with Air Marshal B K Pandey on what is the way forward.
Some facts about the Hurriyat:
The first copies of the Hurriyat's manifestos were printed in Rawalpindi as early as 1993. Pakistan had ordered them to create trouble in the Valley and also an armed struggle.
There are several examples to show that the Hurriyat has never been on board with India.
Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani had supported the Huzbul Mujahideen. Although Sajjad Lone had come out of the Hurriyat and contested the elections as an independent, his brother Bilal is still a part of the Hurriyat.
The locals of Kashmir do not always lean towards the Hurriyat. They have been identified as the ones who organize stone pelting, derail peace and call for bundhs every now and then.
The lack of unity:
The Hurriyat has never been a united force. There are ego clashes between the leaders and this has led to multiple splits. There are factions that are headed separately by Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwiaz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah.
While Geelani appears to be the only one active the rest have been accused of living in palatial bungalows and doing nothing much about the cause they were funded for in the first place.
This has been a major stumbling block for any government and to bring all these persons on board has been an impossible task.
While the PDP may argue that the release of Alam is one step in the direction of peace, it is still to be seen if they can bring all the separatists on board.
As of now it appears as though the release of Alam is just a way of apologizing to the people of Kashmir for the tie up with the BJP.
Can the BJP-PDP alliance continue?
According to Air Marshal B K Pandey, the BJP should not have formed the alliance with the PDP.
"The PDP will not let them have any freedom and the BJP cannot push its agenda. There will be conflict since both parties are not birds of the same feather."
"I feel that the BJP should have remained in opposition. Today they can be held to ransom and they cannot even think of toppling the government. The BJP should have let the locals govern Kashmir till they made themselves completely irrelevant," Air Marshal Pandey also adds.
Can the Hurriyat be brought on board?
B K Pandey says that there are many like Alam in Kashmir. How many will you put behind bars and how many will you release? The PDP says that they are opening up a channel for talks. How far will this be successful is something we need to wait and watch.
"There are only two ways of dealing with the Hurriyat. Either bring them on board or get into an open conflict.
There are bound to be some allegations and counter allegations on this issue. It is to be seen how serious anyone is about dealing with the issue."
"There are examples when staunch enemies have come on board and discussed peace. If one manages to get the Hurriyat united then I should see them coming on board. It is not easy, but possible although I find it to be a difficult task."
How do you solve the Kashmir problem?
In 1996 I had done a thesis on the Kashmir problem. We need to reverse the process of partition, if not in terms of the boundaries at least in spirit.
There are many in Pakistan who are not supportive of the conflict. The poor man in Kashmir who relies on tourism for his daily bread is not supportive of the conflict.
In both Kashmir and Pakistan there are political establishments who use the crisis as a plank. Just being anti other party provides that plank.
The Kashmir issue has in fact made many rich. There is so much being funded on both sides as many benefit for this conflict.
I feel that we need to open up the education system to the children in Pakistan who are madrasa trained, Air Marshal B K Pandey also points out.