Being one of the oldest disputes in the world, Kashmir has more than once brought nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan close to war. A major part of both the country’s annual spending are diverted towards maintaining their arsenals so that they can stay one step ahead of the other at all time. This rivalry that finds its roots back to 1947 partition days has evolved over the years as a long festering wound for both the countries. And this eye for an eye attitude of both India and Pakistan towards each other has left Kashmir deeply bruised.
In last two and half years Kashmir has been at the centre of this rivalry quite actively. And these 25 years have been the most difficult ones for Kashmiris, who have been made pawns in the larger game of revenge.
But it is sad that despite suffering the most, despite losing close to 1 lakh people in 25 years of conflict, Kashmiris still struggle to find a place on the talks table.
Last week, while reacting on separatists’ meeting with Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, the MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “New Delhi reiterated its stated position that there is no place for a third party.”
The third party Akbaruddin referred to are representatives of different factions of Hurriyat. Or in other words Akbaruddin made India’s stand clear that Kashmiris have no place on talks table. It is between India and Pakistan and will be sort out by these two parties only. Kashmiris or for that matter Hurriyat who supposedly represents people’s sentiments are not welcome. “There should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India’s position on the role of the so-called Hurriyat. Let me reiterate there are only two parties and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues,” Akbaruddin said.
This leaves both Kashmiris and Hurriyat out. Now it remains to be seen how Mufti is going to get the so-called Hurriyat back to the negotiations table when the ruling BJP is in no mood to even recognise them as a party to the dispute.
Throughout India has been clear about whom they want to talk, if at all they will talk with Pakistan. And talking to Hurriyat is not on the cards for sure. Recently one of the leading Indian dailies reported that: according to the broad understanding between New Delhi and Islamabad in the past few months — while the Pakistan High Commissioner can meet Hurriyat leaders on the National Day or any other time of the year, India had made it quite clear that there should not be any meeting “before” official talks.
This pretty much explains all the fuss that a section of Indian media created after some of the senior Hurriyat leaders met Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi during Pakistan Day celebration.