Yashwant Sinha: Initiate time-bound dialogue to resolve J-K issue
Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday asked the Modi-led government to identify all the stockholders in Jammu & Kashmir issue and initiate a time-bound dialogue immediately.
Sinha was addressing “Manthan Samvaad” in Hyderabad.
Delivering a talk on “Kashmir: Now, and Way Forward”, the bureaucrat-turned-politician said that it is entirely our (politicians/government) fault that people of Kashmir alienated in successive years post Indian Independence and merger of the state of J&K in it.
Mentioning about BJP and Jammu and Kashmir’s Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) coalition government in the state, Yashwant Sinha said while both the parties agreed on a common agenda of governance and agreed on the need of dialogue with each stockholder of Jammu & Kashmir to resolve the problem it has hit a roadblock.
“I have an opportunity of serving the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and the agenda announced by the current BJP-PDP aggress to follow the same path shown by former prime minister. Same path should be followed.”
“J&K issue has been the longest unfortunate problem or issue and it is with us since our independence. We should also remember that J&K is the only Muslim state that rejects Pakistan and idea of Pakistan and joined India, and it is unfortunate that over last the 70 years successively by each government the people of state were let down. And, now they have a strong feeling of betrayal and discrimination and now they tell you that we always been in denial on their misery,” said Sinha.
Taking a potshot on Prime Minister Narendera Modi, Sinha said, “PM who travels to state condoling death of a leader, but didn’t go to J&K condoling the death of its one of tallest leaders. It puts question on your intention as people are noticing it.”
Mentioning about killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a Kashmiri militant and the commander of militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) which triggered a large scale protest and violence in the valley, Sinha said, “I along with few concerned citizen went to the Valley post his killing and we wanted to tell that people of India really care. We met large number of people and a youth told me that they can’t forget how Government of India and state government have made a tremendous contribution in their psyche and now youth of Kashmir has lost fear of death.” Sinha said that Jammu & Kashmir issue is more political in nature then a law & order or security issue and a dialogue is the only way forward.
He said that when from the Red Fort prime minister said, “Na Goli sey, Na Gali sey, lekin Galey laganey sey” people of Jammu& Kashmir appreciated it and when during his recent visit of valley, Union Home Minister Rajntah singh again reiterated it was again welcomed by the people, but now they want words turning into action.
“Please, operationalise these statements, identify the internal stake holder, whether you will speak to Hurriyat? Please make up your mind. Political party, civil society, trade body, business interest, youths, we have to identify the stakeholder than important is to decide interlocutor like Vajpayee Ji identified LK Advani ji last time, fix a time frame and finish this.” said Yaswant Sinha, advocating an urgency for dialogue.
He warned that if their will be no time frame dialogue, it will not encourage people of J&K and the day government will announce the dialogue process, there will be a dramatic improvement in the situation in the state.
Sinha, then, identified the role of Pakistan in the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and said that the neighboring country is indeed and important factor deciding peace and prosperity in Kashmir.
“One day, we like it or not, we have of involve Pakistan because it has become a third party in the issue of J&K and Pakistan must be held for its promise which he made to Prime Minister Vajpaye. Sometime in future, we have to initiate dialogue with Pakistan and it should not stop us talking to our own people now.”
Sinha also advocated the reduction of armed forces in the Valley and said that the Indian Army should only guard and handle border and line of control while Jammu and Kashmir Police along with central paramilitary forces should be given the full responsibility of law & order and security in the state.
“There are three sets of forces, J&K Police, CRPF and Army. While Army is to protect border and Line of Control, but now it is in the forefront of fighting militancy in the state and I feel our central paramilitary forces are well equipped and trend to handle militancy in the state and so army should go back to barracks and handover tackling of militancy to them,” said Sinha, while mentioning about 1989 rigged assembly election which became a turning point and how Pakistan took full advantage of the situation.