After a hiatus of nearly three and a half years the BJP government led by Narendar Modi had finally appointed former IB director Dineshwar Sharma as its point-man to initiate what they call it “sustainable dialogue” in occupied Kashmir to bring “peace” in the region that had witnessed new spate of violent reprisal under the BJP rule.
The New Delhi’s decision to appoint an interlocutor came on the heels of a massive crackdown, nocturnal raids and mass arrests of resistance leaders and their sympathizers all across the state. Sharma, who has been tasked to initiate dialogue with all stakeholder, is visiting Kashmir at a time when a sizable number of Hurriat leaders (Pro-freedom) have been thrown behind the bars at the pretext of trumped up charges. The move primarily seems a half-hearted effort on the part of BJP regime that on one hand offers a dialogue with all stakeholders while on the other there seems no genuine effort to engage those who really matter as far as the K-dispute is concerned. The main question is that how come the government of India can resolve the dispute thereby ignoring Pakistan and particularly the Hurriyat that represents the sentiment of a vast majority of the people in Kashmir who, as a matter of fact, had never accepted India’s illegal and forcible control over the territory.
Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute that needs to be resolved peacefully through inclusive dialogue involving all parties to the dispute in the process. But what kind of message does the government of India wants to convey thereby initiating so-called “sustainable dialogue” in Kashmir without engaging the key stakeholders (Hurriat and Pakistan) is something that needs to be looked closely.
Ignoring the main stakeholders in the talks reflect; India’s traditional intransigence and denial to accept Kashmir as a dispute, the militaristic mindset to hold on its muscular military solution, the age-old divisionary tact to further complicate the issue, and avoiding debate on the Kashmir at international level besides creating a notion that Kashmir issue is nothing but a law and order problem.
But the fact is that unless the Kashmir dispute is understood and addressed in its historical context and in the background of international commitments made over it, lasting peace can neither be achieved in J&K nor in the sub-continent. Such cosmetic measures taken by the successive governments of Indian in the past had proved futile and this-one is bound to meet the same fate. If the government of India really wants to resolve this dispute once and for all then it should accept Kashmir as a dispute, open-up channels of communication at all levels with Pakistan and the people of Kashmir, create a conducive atmosphere to find out a solution to the lingering dispute that has been a stumbling block in the way of peace and prosperity in the region.
Since the bilateralism has miserably failed to resolve the dispute, India should acknowledge the bitter reality that an inclusive dialogue (involving all the parties) is the only way forward to bring a just and honourable settlement of Kashmir dispute.