‘Doval Doctrine has failed’

Insisting that Delhi’s rightwing government is increasingly choking Kashmir, former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah told Masood Hussain that Delhi will have to decide one day whether “we are Indians or traitors”

KASHMIR LIFE (KL): Talks first or the interlocution or vice versa. I am confused as a reporter.

DR FAROOQ ABDULLAH (DFA): As for interlocutor is concerned, it is the very good thing they have thought that their Doval doctrine of using force has failed. Therefore they have decided that there should be an interlocutor who will talk to all. My only problem with him is that is he going to make a report, is he going to submit that report to the government of India, has he been given the direction on which subject he is going to hold talks with people in Kashmir.

He says that he will discuss with all. What does it mean? Does he expect that people will call him or will he write a letter to all of them inviting them for talks? All this is unclear.

Already Home Minister Raj Nath Singh has visited Kashmir twice. He spoke to all political parties except the Hurriyat. He spoke to unions and associations, to almost all who matter. What was the result of those talks? Nothing has changed on the ground.

We will see what they are going to do. My personal view is that it is an exercise in futility and it is not going to bear any fruit. It is just exercise of wasting the money and time of people by the government of India.

KL: J&K is ideologically fragmented…

DFA: The problem here is that in Ladakh, Kargil and Leh people have their own set of beliefs. In Jammu, the Hindu section has their own opinion and Muslims have their own opinion. In Kashmir, National Conference has its own solution to the Kashmir, which is, autonomy to the state. Hurriyat seeks plebiscite and another section of it wants freedom from India.

So the question is where he (interlocutor) will bring a solution. It is a political issue and needs to be handled politically at the highest level and not at the interlocutors’ level.

 KL: What you think, Delhi needs to talk to “mainstream” or the “separatists” first?

DFA: They need to talk to everyone. Home Minister has talked to all of us. They need to talk to Hurriyat Conference, all sections of it, and to Pakistan. This they will have to do despite terrorism. Terrorism is not going to end in one day or one year. If we want a solution to the problems, want to bring Kashmir out from this uncertainty, I do not think there is any other way, other than talks. The solution can be found only if India and Pakistan come to terms with each other.

KL: But what the interlocutor needs to discover? Is there anything that still needs a discovery?

DFA: I don’t think so. There is nothing new and it is all there in their records. That is why I said that late Dileep Padgoanker has fully prepared a report after spending two years in Kashmir, Ladakh and in Jammu. He met every party and visited every place and did a detailed report. Why don’t they look at that report?

Why do not they see the report of Justice Sagheer Ahmad whom they had appointed in UPA government? It is also with them. Then, they set up five Working groups and they all submitted their reports which are also with them. They are part of the records of the government of India. If one government has gone, the other government can open the report. If they are opening Bofors report again why can’t they open these reports as well? What stops them from opening these reports rather than wasting time?

KL: What happened in past when you were Chief Minister. They flew to Srinagar and met militants? And then they flew Hurriyat to Delhi and met them?

DFA: They also met Prime Minister Vajpayee and many things were agreed on but finally when they came back all those points which were agreed upon were thrown into the dustbin. Therefore, Hurriyat lost confidence that government of India does not mean business. That is why I wonder, what will Hurriyat do? If they will talk to him I don’t know.

And what about NIA raids in Kashmir. All the separatists were held up that money is coming from all over the place. There are people still lying in their jails. All the people of India want to know what have they found out: Has the money come? Wherefrom the money came? Who got the money and how that money was spent? We want to know. Is this harassment to the common people here?  People are asking us. They are asking me every day that what is this NIA raids and why doesn’t something come out? Every time they are taking further remands but what is going to come out from this?

KL: Do you want to say that the situation was not conducive for the appointment of this intelligence officer as an interlocutor?

DFA: It is not the question of suitable timing, it is the question of what he is going to achieve. I don’t see him achieving anything.

KL: How do you see it as a politician that first you engage at Prime Minister level, then you reduce the level of engagement and then finally you stop engaging?

DFA: You engage at Prime Minister level, that is the highest level, then you feel that something is going to happen. But nothing has happened; the situation is as bad as it was before.

They keep on telling the world and the country that situation is under control. How is it under control? It is because of the army, CRPF and  the  police  they have used because they have killed so many militants; they have done de-monetisation which has helped them. Had it helped them, the militancy should have died. But today if one militant dies four are ready to stand in his place. So where has the militancy gone? It has increased.

I am sorry if the army chief gives a statement that situation is better. By flying in the state by helicopter, he thinks the situation is right. It is not right.

KL: Why is militancy recurring and increasing despite a fence separating “us” from “them”?

DFA: It is because the wounds are in the hearts and the minds of people and unless those wounds are healed it will never stop. I will give them in my blood writing that it will never stop.

KL: So what are these wounds and how will they be treated, you are a doctor and a politician?

DFA: Wounds can be treated when they come and really try to see how they will be treated and healed.

We did not accede to India, unlike other states. We did not go blindly. Maharaja signed accession on three terms: communication, defence and foreign affairs and rest of the power was with the state. We were a semi-autonomous state. Why was it necessary for them to erode that why? We have lost faith in them that is why wounds are alive.

Unless they return the position of 1953, people are not going to accept these bought agents, who are now governing. They will also disappear like the wind.

KL: But where is the reconciliation coming?

DFA: I can’t see reconciliation. Where is the reconciliation? If they arrest 18 boys from Hazartbal who were innocents and who have done nothing, how they are going to reconcile? It is the youth today who are up in arms. How do you satisfy them? Not by shooting, beating, and locking in jails. You are not going to achieve anything other than hatred and to cover that hatred; they are now sending interlocutors thinking that will heal. But it is not going to heal the wounds.

You have to come down to basics then they may get some result.

KL: You have been talking about Doval doctrine. What is it all about?

DFA: Before becoming NIA Chief, Ajit Doval spoke to a conference in Hyderabad where he said that peace in Kashmir can be brought about by force. When he became NIA chief, he put his saying into practice and result is in front of you.

Have they achieved what his doctrine was all about? The hatred has increased thousand times more.

KL: But has there been some era in Kashmir when there were not people in jails, there was no torture. Has not Kashmir existed like this always?

DFA: When my father came to power, it was the first time that the state saw some improvement. There was development on all fronts. Even in my time, development was on all fronts. You will be surprised to know that when I was being dismissed in 1984, the then governor late Shri (B K) Nehru told Mrs Indira Gandhi very clearly that this state is only peaceful state in India.

By doing anything like this they are going to burn the state and for a long time they are not going to bring calmness in the state. People in the state lost faith and confidence.

The tragedy is that when Pakistan started infiltration here by taking boys for training from here, the situation changed. Suddenly AFSPA and many other tragedies were brought in. Ever since Kashmir is burning.

Who took Kashmiri Pandits out from Kashmir: not the Muslims of Kashmir but Jagmohan. I am not saying it alone but the officers of that time who are saying on record that Jagmohan facilitated their going by sending them trucks and lorries. For three months, he wanted to have tremendous pressure on people, to crush them and then bring Pandits back.

Twenty-eight years have gone but Pandits are not back. Who is responsible? Not Muslims but the government of India.

KL: How will the interlocutor work when there is a raging debate on 35A?

DFA: I have no idea what will he do. No one has any idea about what is he going to do and what will be the end result. Let us see the tamasha. We all are here.

KL: There were talks then interlocutors and then Working Groups and then now interlocutors again. There are people saying it is all about buying time. Are they correct?

DFA:  Yes, it is correct. It is just wastage of time. It has proved. All the interlocutors submitted their reports. NN Vohra submitted his report in 2003. People have really lost faith in this system. The Government does not mean business. They think that by this jugglery they will achieve something, but it will not work.

KL: So what will Kashmir do in this situation?

DFA:  We will do the same thing as we did during the reign of Maharaja when there was repression, and mosques were loaded with horses. We will go in the same shell and one day we come out from this shell and see a different light.

KL: You see tensions increasing in coming days?

DFA: Yes. There will more tension, more problems.

RSS and BJP will continue its propaganda that Kashmirs are traitors. They will continue telling pilgrims of Amarnath that even when they go on the yatra, they should not spend a single penny here. They will continue repeating Kashmir is a crown of India and then they will continue saying we are traitors. But two things can’t go together. Either we are Indians or we are traitors. They will have to decide on that.

Ishtiyaq Magray assisted in the interview

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