Congress leader and former Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said that to find a solution to the Kashmir crises, India should assure the people of Kashmir that the grand bargain promised during the time of Kashmir's accession would be honoured.
Mr. Chidambaram in an interview to Karan Thapar on India Today TV blamed both the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir governments for the current unrest in the Valley and warned that the situation in the region will worsen if the BJP-PDP combine don't take resurrective measures immediately.
“I think their approach is wrong. We have ignored the grand bargain under which Kashmir acceded to India. I think we broke faith, we broke promises and therefore we have paid a heavy price,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram said: “We look at Kashmir as an issue of land, but it's a problem of people instead. Let the people of Kashmir frame their laws within the ambit of the Constitution. We have to assure that we will respect identity, history, culture, religion,” he said.
Accepting that the situation in Kashmir has been mishandled by successive governments including the UPA, Mr. Chidambaram said: “We did mishandle, but we corrected ourselves in 2010, since then governments didn't follow-up. Now, both the governments in New Delhi and Srinagar mishandled the situation very badly.”
Mr. Chidambaram said that Kashmir needs a unique political solution but the ruling PDP-BJP alliance is itself a grave provocation for the valley.
“No doubt it is a legitimate government, but both these parties are poles apart and the fact that these two partners forming government has given a sense of fear among people of Kashmir,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram said he was of the opinion that bulk of the recommendations of the interlocutors reports should had been implemented and regretted that no follow up action was taken on the reports of the interlocutors for Kashmir.
He said when he was Home Minister he wanted to move the army and paramilitary forces to border areas and let the state police overall incharge of law and order situation.
“Making GOC virtually the overall command, handing over security to defence happened over a period..such shifts should not have happened,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram admitted that he could not push forward a proposal for withdrawal of AFSPA from parts of the state as he could not convince the defence establishment and political leadership.