Kashmir: India sends another interlocutor on futile mission

What! Now another interlocutor to settle the mess in the Kashmir Valley! With the appointment of the former IB director, Dineshwar Sharma, as yet another interlocutor for the Valley, eyebrows are getting raised and a bunch of pertinent questions thrown up: What happened to the in-depth reports of the former team of interlocutors – Dileep Padgoankar, Radha Kumar and MM Ansari? Also, whatever happened to the whole list of recommendations put together by Yashwant Sinha?

In fact, if one were to go through by the report put together by the Padgoankar-led team, which had submitted its report in the winter of 2011, it gets apparent that they had suggested to the then government to do away with the Disturbed Areas Act and also to re-look at the implementation of the draconian AFSPA (Armed Forces Disturbed Areas Act)... The crux of that report was to address human rights violations by the armed forces, lessen Army presence, and to begin that crucial political dialoguing process. But that report wasn’t to be implemented. And now, more recently, as the veteran civil servant-turned-politician Yashwant Sinha had come out with several recommendations which, if implemented, could have lessened those gaps, but even those were sidelined! Not just the recommendations but even Yashwant Sinha himself stands sidelined by BJP’s top brass in New Delhi.

Now that Dineshwar Sharma enters the arena, there seems little hope of the mess getting less messier. For one, the masses and even the local Kashmiri leaders are wary of the Intelligence Bureau; after all, its all too very sarkari and part and parcel of the government they have little trust in. Sharma may have retired from service but he is still seen as an extension of the hukumat in power. Who will he talk to, in this atmosphere where killings and arrests and injustices are ongoing? Who will listen to him,when hopelessness stretches out to every possible locale, as ground realities are getting murkier by the day?

Its sad and unfortunate that people of the Valley are not heard, their grievances not addressed, the brutalities heaped on them un-ending. To quote academic Christopher Snedden from his recently published book Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris (Speaking Tiger), ‘In the sixty-seven years of the India-Pakistan dispute over J&K, 'the third party' to the Kashmir dispute - the people of Jammu and Kashmir - have never been consulted in any meaningful or inclusive way on how the dispute over J&K should be resolved. This ignores the fact that J&K-ites are actually the 'first party' to the Kashmir dispute simply because this dispute is about their state and homeland. Indeed, J&K-ites are actually the ‘first party’' to this dispute because they instigated the fight over J&K’s status in 1947 before the Maharaja’s accession to India in 1947.’

Snedden also writes in his book, ‘One way for India and Pakistan to resolve this matter would be to mutually agree to devolve it to the people of J&K and allow then to discuss, debate, and determine what solution or solutions they want for what are, after all, their (disputed) lands...Such a devolution would be possible under Section 1.ii of the Simla Agreement. It states that India and Pakistan can “settle their differences through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon”. Both nations therefore could agree to devolve the resolution of the Kashmir dispute to J&K-ites. I call this approach -Let the People Decide.’


The severity of the fascist political powers are so severely intrusive that one will have to think a hundred times before even falling in love with a man or woman from the minority communities. Look at the plight of Hadia and her husband. If this can happen in the state of Kerala where high literacy rates hold sway, one can well imagine what madness must be unfolding in the rural and urban stretches of North India, where Right-Wing brigades are hell-bent on spreading sheer poisonous propaganda amongst the masses…Killings of emotions and forms and wants and all the connected strains are taking place as the love-less speculate!

Sorrow-dripping lovelorn love tales are emerging from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Bihar; short-lived they are, as the political mafia hacks the lovers together with their love.

Coming back to Kerala’s Hadia, and with that to Kerala’s celebrated poetess Kamala Das who had also dared to fall in love with a Muslim and wrote verse after verse on love. Of course, Kamala Das lived in those non-fascist times and so could dare to proclaim her love, loud and clear.

Leaving you with these lines of Kamala Das from her book, Closure (HarperCollins):

‘A Blessed Life/


I broke a commandment /

or two/

but shall not plead/

for society’s pardon,/

or God’s./

When I disobeyed/

I tasted bliss/


I count myself blessed/

not for the fame/

or fortune/

but for those wanton hours/

of pure abandon…’


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