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For a man who found himself thrust into various initiatives launched by the government of India in the last several years to deal with upsurge of political dissent in Kashmir, he feels if serious political measures aren’t taken now by New Delhi “the dangerous situation can explode anytime.”
Sitaram Yechury, the secretary general of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who was in Kashmir to preside over his party’s state conference, lay the blame for the trouble in Kashmir on the Modi-led government. “Modi’s Kashmir policy has been disastrous and directionless. Today Kashmir is in the midst of dangerous situation which can explode anytime,”
Yechury acknowledged that there was a perceptible rise in peoples’ anger, and young men taking to arms were “major problems” for the government of India in Kashmir. He felt that New Delhi approach to Kashmir was wrong as it was treating Kashmir as law and order problem. “There isn’t much time which can be lost now. The situation in Kashmir is pregnant with all these things and it can burst anytime,” he said.
He disapproved of Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor “without a clear mandate.” He said instead New Delhi should begin an inclusive political process, which can revisit the wrongs done in the past. In his assessment of the political situation he feels everyone including the Hurriyat leadership must be involved in talks to end the violence in Kashmir.
He asked the government in New Delhi to give the interlocutor the mandate to begin talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir. Referring to a story by the Greater Kashmir in which Sharma had said “I will see and think” when he was asked whether he would talk to separatists, Yechury said Sharma’s reluctance shows that he hasn’t the mandate to talk to the Hurriyat leadership.
He decried the unwillingness of the government to act upon various reports of parliamentary delegations and interlocutors sent to Kashmir each time there was an upswing in pro-freedom protests in Kashmir. “The political process can be started by acting upon these reports. The basis of this process can be to go back and see what all has happened in the past and what needs to be corrected,” said Yechury.
He said the ongoing NIA raids in Kashmir were in contradiction to the government of India’s assertion that it want to engage all stakeholders.
“Unfortunately many are now drawing conclusion that government is trying to force the Hurriyat into talks. It doesn’t help the situation but worsens it and ends up eroding credibility of the government,” he said.
He believes the ruling alliance was put together mainly to achieve power in the state and that the contradictions of the alliance were continuing to plague both the government and political situation. In this scenario, he said the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was functioning under “very serious constraints”
“That has been the biggest disadvantage to the Chief Minister as well as her party PDP,” he said. “Their politics is contradictory. What have they achieved during last three years? This non-performance only confirms that the government formation was purpose behind the alliance and it has hit image of the PDP and the Chief Minister,” said Yechury.
Terming the rape and murder of the eight-year-old nomadic girl in Jammu’s Kathua district as gruesome, Yechury said the participation of the two BJP ministers in a rally in support of the accused was “shocking and dangerous”.
“The law must be allowed to take its own course but you are interfering in it. Can there be anything dangerous and gruesome for a civil society when law isn’t allowed to function?,” said Yechury.
He wondered whether the government was using the trouble in Kashmir as an instrument to create polarization cross India before the general election.
“I am afraid that is the only conclusion we can draw ahead of the next elections. It all seems part of agenda of communal polarization it appears. What else can be the answer? Or it can be extremely inept government incapable of doing anything or they have any sinister design. There can’t be a third conclusion. From all what is happening, it appears the government wants to do so (polarize the situation),” said Yechury.

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