Anger raging in Kashmir, says Sinha panel

January 08, 2017 01:02 am | Updated 01:02 am IST - Srinagar:

A team from New Delhi, headed by former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, has warned of growing anger in rural Kashmir and vanishing faith in the institution of dialogue among the people of the State.

The second report of the Concerned Citizens Group led by Mr. Sinha, compiled after its second visit to the Valley, said, “There is a crisis of acknowledgement of the Kashmir problem with the Indian state. People feel India refuses to recognise that Kashmir is a political problem. Almost every Kashmiri we met said that there was a need for a one-time political settlement.”

The report pointed out that anger in the rural areas was “palpably greater than in Srinagar and raw”.

“Kashmiris see the visits of emissaries of Government of India and civil society groups as farcical exercises and part of a diversionary tactic to handle disturbances in Kashmir,” it said.

Because of the record of the Indian State, there is scepticism about even non-governmental initiatives, it said.

According to the report, people even objected to the language used to describe the situation in Kashmir — “unrest”, they say, is the wrong term to use because Kashmir has never been at rest since 1947; “peace and normalcy” are the most abused words in the State as no one knows what they are meant to signify; and while the government talks of “anger and alienation” of the Kashmiris, those are not the issues that need to be addressed — the problem is political and cries out for a political solution.

India, many believe, is deliberately pretending to be ignorant of the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Most Kashmiris say their protests are neither “sponsored” by anyone nor are their youngsters being paid to come out in the streets.

The policies of India to deal with sporadic bursts of protests and anger in Kashmir are described as “time-buying techniques”, which have only worsened the situation. It also underlined that the statements of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq on the issue of beef resonated during the conversations with the people.

The team, which held two rounds of dialogue with various stakeholders including separatists comprises Wajahat Habibullah, Air-Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retired), journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve, who is the director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

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