Why Kashmir problem must be solved politically? Explains an interlocutor
New Delhi, Oct 30: The Kashmir cauldron is back in the mainstream discussion after former Union minister P Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir recently.
The former finance minister's statement on "autonomy" has been slammed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. The PM said Chidambaram's remarks were an "insult to our brave soldiers who have laid down their lives for Kashmir".
Amid all these political slugfest between senior leaders of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Kashmir issue, MM Ansari, former UGC member, CIC and interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, stressed on the need to solve the problem politically.
In his column for The Indian Express, Ansari criticised the Centre for using "brutal force" to suppress agitation by Kashmiris.
"The use of brutal force to suppress the agitation by Kashmiris has aggravated the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Lapses in intelligence information about the separatists' activities have not helped.
"There has been no let-up in militancy in the state. Continuing its muscular approach and in the garb of initiating a "sustained dialogue process" in Kashmir, the Centre has appointed Dineshwar Sharma to plug the loopholes in gathering, analysing and disseminating intelligence information," Ansari wrote.
He also slammed the government over the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma as Kashmir interlocutor.
"The expectations created by Sharma's appointment are unduly high. Sharma has no experience in dispute resolution and there is clearly a mismatch between his professional expertise and the task that he has been assigned," Ansari wrote.
Ansari suggested that "the Indian government needs to take various stakeholders into confidence, including the army at the border--as well as Pakistan--to solve the issue."
"Unless that happens, the dialogue process, which the government intends to restart, would merely be a diversionary effort on the Centre's part," he added.
Ansari criticised both the BJP and the Congress for not acting upon the recommendations of interlocutors and committees in the past.
"One thing, though, has been constant: The UPA and NDA governments did not act upon the recommendations of the interlocutors and other committees constituted by the Centre. This points to a lack of sincerity on the part of the political dispensation at the Centre to resolve the issue."
Ansari has a suggestion for the Narendra Modi government to end the crisis in Kashmir.
"If the NDA government is serious about resolving the problem, it needs to follow what former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said about resolving the Kashmir imbroglio within the realm of 'kashmiriyat, jamhooriyat and insaniyat.' PM Modi has also endorsed this credo but without a visible plan of action."