Delhi Conclave For 3-pronged Peace Process In JK

Delhi Conclave For 3-pronged Peace Process In JK

11 March 2012
Greater Kashmir
Anil Anand

New Delhi: Although the legislators belonging to different political parties of Jammu and Kashmir tried to stick to their stated positions on various issues concerning the state but they broadly agreed to sit together and discuss a mechanism not only to address the problems related to the Centre-state but also the regional aspirations. At the end of the two day conference on “Achieving Peace in Jammu and Kashmir: Options Today”, organized by Delhi Policy Group, the legislators felt that the time was ripe to start talking about political resolution of Kashmir problem. They also felt that there can be a combination of “give-and-take” not only on Centre-state subjects but also those related to the regional and sub-regional problems of the state. Former interlocutor on J&K and head of the Group Radha Kumar said that there was a general impression in the conference that the three-pronged peace process should continue simultaneously and each track should support the other. Efforts should be made to give a fillip to Indo-Pak dialogue and talks with the Hurriyat Conference, it is also the right time to bring in the elected representatives into the picture, they further felt. Referring to the political session, she said that a great positive was the readiness of different groups with diverse ideological backgrounds to start thinking about each other. She expressed hope that this spirit would be carried forward in the days to come. The conference discussed in detail the issues related to human rights violations. It was felt that some movement had taken place on this front in the light of the recommendations made by one of the five groups set up the Centre, more needed to done. In this connection issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and rehabilitation of former militants also figured with legislators from the Valley and Jammu region expressing divergent views. Significantly, the issues related to displaced persons with focus on the Kashmiri Pandits prominently figured in the conference. However, it was found that quite a few MLAs-MLCs have actually visited the transit areas or the new hubs created for their rehabilitation and many of them had doubts about the displaced community members going back to the Valley. The Member Parliament and senior National Conference leader Dr Mehboob Beg said: “The Government of India has never considered Kashmir as an issue. It took them more than six decades to just acknowledge it as an issue. So I wonder how many more decades would it take them to resolve it.” “It was the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who acknowledged that until and unless Kashmir issue is resolved peace in subcontinent will be a distant dream,” he said. Dr Beg said that peace in Kashmir is “very much fragile” and even a small incident can “spark off the sentiment.” “Present calm can be a lull before a storm,” he added. Referring to the four point formula mooted by the former Pakistan President General Parvez Musharraf, Dr Beg said, “Musharaff’s formula should be launching pad to kick start the process.” Dr Beg said that separatists were not coming on board as there is “huge trust deficit” attached. Describing the entire exercise as positive, CPM legislator M Y Tarigami said it is good that some channels of communication with the J&K politicians have been opened. “This will help us to clarify our positions on various issues,” he felt. Tarigami said that a new Constitutional settlement is needed to resolve Kashmir issue and which should be made permanent. Elaborating on this he said that it should focus on granting substantial self- rule-autonomy and granting Constitutional guarantees against its misuse in future. Engineer Rashid, MLA, said that peace cannot be established at the barrel of gun. Talks should be started with Pakistan and Delhi should develop a consensus on what they wanted to do and offer on Kashmir. “Let BJP and Congress decide and see beyond the vote bank politics,” he observed. Maintaining that Pakistan cannot be ignored in any peace effort on Kashmir, he said that channels of communication should also be opened with militant groups and those lodged in jails. At the same time he demanded that bureaucrats and politicians should be made accountable. The BJP MLAs led by Ashok Khajuria demanded that the entire gamut of the refugee issue should be one of the key issues while discussing the resolution of Kashmir issue. He said that the complaints of regional discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh should also be addressed and demanded abrogation of Article 370 which he felt had contributed to separatist tendencies. The party legislator Jugal Kishore said that not only the displaced Kashmiri Pandits but the problems of the 1947, 65 and 71 refugees should also be discussed. He particularly mentioned the plight of those displaced from the Pak Administered Kashmir. The party MLAs also vehemently opposed the withdrawal of AFSPA. Panthers Party chief B S Mankotia also raised the issues of regional discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh. Prominent among those attended the conference were legislators Shamima Firdous, Ajaz Jan, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Sukh Nandan Kumar, Tsetan Namgyal, Chowdhary Mohammed Ramzan, Mir Saifullah, Rafiq Shah and Abdul Rashid Sheikh. Among the MPs present were the PCC president Saifuddin Soz, H K Dua, Chandan Mitra, Mabel Rebello, Muhammed Shafi Uri, Shashi Tharoor, Mahmud Madni and Sitaram Yechury.