Millennium Post

Kashmir still pending

The political hot potato called Kashmir has again emerged as a major talking point. The reason is the submission of the report of the Centre-appointed Interlocutor Group on Jammu and Kashmir that comprised of Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari. For more than a year, the group looked into various aspects of the state’s political history, its statism, the demands and ways of its citizenry, the secessionist sentiments and its present and future hope and aspirations. Initial optimism that this group may propose lasting solutions on many of Kashmir’s embattled issues evaporated after a few unfortunate leaks of the report in the media. Effectively, then, few expected any landmark observations anymore and there was always the apprehension that this report will go in vain as a consensus will be impossible to achieve about its proposals. In this climate, the report does make very few critical observations and has overwhelmingly proposed further talks among the warring groups.

The interlocutors have proposed a constitutional committee that may reappraise and review all Central laws and articles that were extended to the state after the 1952 Delhi agreement. This is mostly required, the report has claimed, to assess if the laws have in any way curtailed the state’s powers that could have led to more welfare of the citizenry. The indication is towards Article 370 to whose possible erosion over time the report hints at and proposes that the powers and responsibilities under the Article be re-apprised. However, the report makes no bones about its dislike for a pre-1953 position. The report also suggests lifting of the controversial AFSPA and controlled use of the Public Safety Act. The separatists have obviously criticised the report, saying that it is too narrowly focussed on the state-centre relationship and has slammed the exercise as a waste of time and money. Both the PDP and the NC, Kashmir’s mainstream political parties, have decided to keep a distance at the moment though they have indicated that they may partly endorse one or two recommendations made in the report. The government has made no comment but, it should not sit on the report forever, as it has made a practice over every policy decision. The government should use this report as a point of departure, consider its proposals and work on roadmap for the future. It should also take into account the criticisms and reviews coming from every quarter, including the Opposition. Kashmir is an important issue and the situation is complicated by the meddling of a foreign power in it. The government should not send any signal that it does not want to work on it or that this group’s work was just an eyewash and waste of time. That would make things ever more susceptible to contrarian intentions.
Next Story
Share it