Says history of broken promises reason for alienation in Kashmir
Srinagar, Oct 01: Senior BJP leader and former foreign finance and external minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government Yashwant Sinha has said because of a history of broken commitments the Kashmiri people feel that India refuses to recognise that Kashmir is a political problem and therefore requires a political solution.
He said there is near complete lack of faith in anything that the government of India says or promises to Kashmiris.
In an interview to The Wire, Sinha who led a team to Kashmir several times since last year’s public uprising that triggered after the killing of popular militant Burhan Wani, said, “… it has deteriorated. The security forces are killing the so-called militants. That is happening. But the alienation, which is the fundamental issue in Jammu and Kashmir, the alienation today is deeper, wider than it was earlier.”
Sinha said the home minister goes to Srinagar and says ‘we are prepared to talk to all stakeholders; I invite all stakeholders to talk to me’. Now, what is this? That he is sitting in the guest house, and people will come and seek an appointment? Is this the way a dialogue is conducted?” he said about Rajnath Singh’s Kashmir visit.
He said that the stakeholders “included” the Hurriyat Conference. “They (BJP and PDP) themselves have said in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ that all stakeholders include…”
When asked that the BJP government in Delhi has backed away from the Hurriyat Conference, Sinha replied, “So let them say whether Hurriyat (Conference) is a stakeholder or not.”
“First (there should be) clarity on who their stakeholders are. They should do that, number one. Number two, then they should say who the interlocutor for the dialogue from the government side will be. Is it going to be a home minister? It was Mr. Advani, the deputy prime minister, who was the interlocutor on behalf of the government,” Sinha added.
Sinha said that interlocutor should be someone of equivalent to Advani. “It should be… So is it going to be a home minister? Is it somebody specially appointed? Is it going to be a single member task force? Is it going to be a multi-member thing? All these things will have to be decided. Then you have to set out a time frame. That we are going to meet the stakeholders in this manner. Send out invites, ask them to come wherever and talk to the interlocutor.”
“It has to have a fixed timeframe. Nobody in Kashmir is going to accept something which is indeterminate. So these are the steps we have said, in a press statement recently, the government should take and immediately start the dialogue process so that the political problem can be addressed,” he said.