AOL and RSS: Government’s backroom boys in Kashmir | india-news | Hindustan Times
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AOL and RSS: Government’s backroom boys in Kashmir

The Centre may have found in spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living and in think tanks such as the RSS-linked Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre, envoys of its peace-building measures in the Valley that has been roiling in unrest for almost four months now.

Burhan_wani_kashmir Updated: Nov 03, 2016 01:28 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Chandigarh Yoga festival in June 2016.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Chandigarh Yoga festival in June 2016. (Keshav Singh/HT File Photo)

The Centre may have found in spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living and in think tanks such as the RSS-linked Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre, envoys of its peace-building measures in the Valley that has been roiling in unrest for almost four months now.

Sample this. As news of more schools in the Valley set ablaze broke over the weekend, an emissary from AOL reached Tral, near Srinagar on Tuesday. Hours after his arrival, Muzaffar Wani, father of slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, issued a statement condemning the attack on schools.

His message was music to the government’s ears which hopes the senior Wani would wield some positive influence in the Valley which has gone into a spiral since his son’s killing on July 8.

And his connect with the AOL, which has forged links with a cross section of Kashmiris, including the separatists is a tie that the government is keenly watching and hoping to benefit from.

“We have been working for over two decades in the Valley. We hold youth leadership training programmes, help in conflict management and provide education to restore peace,” said Sanjay Bihari director of AOL’s peace initiative.

AOL distances itself from the government, but sources said the BJP-PDP alliance in the state sees an opportunity to use such organisations to break the logjam in communication. For instance, AOL’s dialogues are attended by representatives of the Hurriyat Conference as well as the Kashmiri Pandits.

One such dialogue by the AOL where both representatives from both the government and separatists are expected is scheduled for November 22 at New Delhi’s India Islamic Centre.

The RSS is also reaching out to the people in the Valley through its affiliates. But the RSS and the AOL have kept a distance from each other in Kashmir

The JKSC says it works on correcting “misinformation”.

“An incorrect image of India has been created in the minds of Kashmiris. Nobody wants to know what the people of Kashmir want; they need education for their kids and jobs. We remove these distortions of facts,” said Abha Khanna, director media at the JKSC.