Separatists in Kashmir: Not Thinking About the PeopleSince the all-party delegation of MPs that went to Kashmir had gone without a proper brief or homework, nothing much was expected to come out of their sojourn in the Valley. But if the concerned stakeholders had taken it as a fact finding team and had put their points of view before it, maybe first steps could have been taken towards resolving the current dispute. Alas, that was not to be. Separatists, led by Syed Geelani, refused to meet some members of the team when they visited him. His supporters even misbehaved with them by keeping the gates closed and shouting anti-India slogans. In the process, the separatists lost an opportunity to present their case before the MPs who went to meet them as most of them were sympathetic to them, if not to their cause. As for the government, even if it was not very enthusiastic to the idea of reaching out to the separatists, it must be said to its credit that it did not prevent the MPs who wanted to do so.
By Sunil Garodia
The separatists must acknowledge the fact that they cannot enjoy a carte blanche to cause disruptions in the Valley and turn the youth against the country. That is an anarchist policy which can be used initially to draw attention to a cause. But it cannot serve as the background to resolve a dispute. Their idea of total separation from India is Utopian. Their rigid condition that no talks are possible within the framework of the Indian constitution is childish, to say the least, as the Indian government can only talk within that framework. Hence, they should have met the MPs to let them know what they had in mind. Their intransigence just goes on to show that they are neither seriously interested in resolving the current stand-off nor work towards a long term solution of the problems in the Valley. It serves their purpose and that of those who fund and control them remotely to keep Kashmir burning.
The government is right in contemplating reducing their security cover and discontinuing some perks they enjoy after they showed disrespect to the MPs. In the past, Indian taxpayers have funded their foreign trips including airfare, stay and security only to see them rubbish the country at various meets abroad. It is now clear that the separatists have a two-pronged agenda. The first is to keep the cauldron boiling in the state by radicalizing the youth with some among them being children and making them fight the security forces while the second is to rubbish the country and its constitution. Their wails that the security forces indulge in human rights violations sound hollow when they hand stones and worse to children instead of sending them to school. The separatists want Kashmir to keep burning. They do not want any development. They do not want the youngsters to be educated and employed. All this will bring goodwill for India and improve the living conditions of the population. This will make it difficult for them to find recruits for their cause. The Indian government if often accused of not thinking about the Kashmiri people but only about the territory. But arent the separatists doing the same by treating the youngsters as cannon fodder and talking about Azad Kashmir? Additionally, they are playing into the hands of the Pakistanis.