Report of the interlocutors on J&K
Instead of doing, what is its own job, the Government of India, has found novel ways, to dodge its own responsibilities, by setting up commissions, committees and now what are called interlocutors. The interlocutors are, supposed to carry on the dialogue with disgruntled individuals and groups. This privilege is not extended to peace loving citizens groups, but to the separatists, like the ones in Kashmir, Naxalites, Maoists, and anybody who can exert pressure on the Government, by the force of guns.
Out of the three Kashmir specific interlocutors, two of them have been guests of a front man, of ISI, Ghulam Nabi Fai, who has been convicted in USA. Once this fact became public, it was the moral, though not legal duty of the two interlocutors, to disassociate themselves with any dialogue on behalf of the Government of India. It is surprising that even the Government of India, kept quite, instead of showing them the boot.
There is an old saying, that “God save me, from my friends, my enemies, I can tackle myself”. Appointment of interlocutors was a sign of gross weaknesses. Even when, the Prime Minister visited Srinagar, the terrorists and their front men declared bandh. Despite his open invitation, nobody came to meet him. The same happened with the Kashmir interlocutors.
In fact one of the interlocutors admitted that no terrorist or Pakistani representative met them.On the refusal of the separatists to talk to the panel, one of the interlocutors said: “We have taken into account the stated public positions of separatist groups. These have been reflected in our report. Obviously if they had engaged in talks with us, the report would certainly have been far more worthwhile. The fact of the matter is that we have tried again and again to engage them and again and again they refused.”
Obviously, what the so-called interlocutors have gone by is the Press reports in the Kashmiri Press, which is already under siege of the terrorists. Their report has zero credibility, because, they have gone by the views of the terrorist, so-called separatists. They have not taken into consideration, what the rest of the two third of Kashmir, that is Leh and Ladakh and J& K feel about.
What is shocking and appalling is that the report does not talk about the views of Jammu and Leh area of Kashmir, except in passing, as if they did not exist. Neither it mentions about the innocent people and members of the security forces killed , and the border intrusion from Pakistan. It speaks as if all the human rights belong to the separatists and terrorists, but not to the defenders of the country and common man in J&K.
The report is the first step towards disintegration and playing into the hands of the separtstists forces, whether it is in Kashmir or North-East or in Naxalite areas. The report wants the Government to reconsider the deployment of security forces, re-evaluation of the need for special powers for the army and improving human rights situation . In the name of the human rights, the terrorists in Kashmir Valley have been killing the security forces and people who do not support them. This is what exactly Naxalites, and Maoists are doing. No member of any security force has any enemity with any separists or terrorist or Naxalite groups. What they are doing is as per the orders of the Government and in the interest of the unity and integrity of the country. I have still to see any committee appointed by the Government, to deal with the anti-Indian forces, to say a word of thanks or praise for the work being done by the security forces, whether it is the Army or Paramilitary Forces or Police. They are made the fall guy, and treated by the so-called sympathisers of such groups as gun fodder.
The other recommendation is the review of the laws extended to J& K after 1953.
On the one hand, the country talks of secularism and on the other, it is the writ of the Islamic fundamentalists which prevails in Kashmir, wherein all cinemas, beauty parlours and entertainment have been banned. The appointment of the interlocutors has been a big joke on the country as one of them suggested amendments to the Constitution to accommodate “a discussion on the ‘azadi’ option for Jammu & Kashmir”.
Another interlocutor aclowledged differences in the views of the people of J&K. If 2/3 people of the State reject what is in the report, then what is the rationale of even discussing it. Alienation of the terrorists and separatists is of no concern to the country. The report has not talked about 3.70 lakh Hindus and Sikhs expulsion and the seizure of their properties in Kashmir Valley. No body talks about such people. Interlocutors have failed to acknowledge that only thing which stands between the anarchy and governance is the presence of the armed forces.
Like everything else and every problem in the country, whether it is Maoism or Naxalism or killing of the innocent, the Government has got into the habit of behaving like a pigeon, who closes its eyes, hoping that the cat would not see it or eat it. A handful of terrorists have taken the Government for a ride. Without the Government of India’s help, Kashmir would not be able to pay even the salary of its employees, forget about the money for development. It is a truth universally accepted, that he who pays the piper plays the tune.
A normal Kashmiri whether a Hindu or Muslim or a Sikh wants to lead a peaceful life. He is not interested either in the Government or the terrorists, or so-called separatists. In the interest of peace he keeps quite or sides with the more powerful of the parties, which in the present condition. Shiekh Abdulla was incarcerated for nearly a decade. But the Government of the day has no such guts to deal with separatists firmly. The entire country is paying for the upliftment of Kashmir and provides equal opportunities to them. There is no rationale to retain Article 370. The meaningless and irrational report of the interlocutors should be rejected straight away and consigned to where it rightly belongs, that is the dustbin of history.
(The writer is IPS (Retd.) Former Director CBI and can be contacted at Joginder firstname.lastname@example.org)