Time to act

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has, yet again, suggested separatists to talk to New Delhi. This time the reason is that if they are crossing the Redcliff divide to talk to the Pakistani leaders what is the harm in talking to the leadership in India?

The reason is not illogical. But the larger issue is who wants to talk to them and what is going to be the agenda? What has been the outcome of earlier round of talks between the two sides?

Till the policy makers manage a plausible explanation to these issues and rope in the sliced separatist camp, the immediate priority for the governments in Delhi and Srinagar should be to go for a bit of self-introspection. Between 1996 and 2012, there have been a series of official panels and committees mandated to study and suggest various facets of a troubled state. There were working groups that Prime Minister constituted and they all have made their recommendations in unambiguous terms. Be on economic front, the CBMs or any other issue, these working groups have clearly suggested what it is to be done.

It is only one of these five working groups tackling the centre state relation which is still in trouble. Though J&K government has no locus standi in this report, still it is being contested between the two partners of the ruling coalition. The only visible follow up was the Prime Minister announcing a package for the return and rehabilitation of the migrant Kashmiri Pandits. Nothing much happened beyond that on the working group’s front.

While Kashmir was waiting for the start of the implementation of these recommendations, quickly came the appointment of three interlocutors as a by-product of the 2010 unrest. They spend their time in visiting every nook and corner of the state and finally created a huge thesis full of recommendations. While some of the recommendations might be contested and may prove useless and impractical, there has not been even a single indication that any of these recommendations will make to the decision-making table. This is despite the fact some of the erstwhile interlocutors have joined new jobs.

Now the most recent is the Justice Verma committee that seeks certain change the way AFSPA is being implemented in conflict areas. Chief Minister has already announced he will call an all party meet and see how best some of the recommendations will be implemented.

Right now, the situation is conducive for the governments to act solo. A relative calm exists in the state, the militant violence is down and there is remote possibility of renewed militancy emerging. Tourists are flocking in and the society after losing a generation in its most productive age is desperate to catch up with the progress and the development that other societies in the neighbourhood managed between 1990 and 2000.

The governments in Srinagar and Delhi must start dusting all these reports and start implementing whatever they like. Let it prove its seriousness and sincerity. Once that process is over, then only they should explore the possibilities of roping in the separatists.


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