While a majority of the Valley leadership is happy to have got an unconditional talks offer from the Centre , for the first time a sense of involvement has been extended to the regions of Jammu and Ladakh as well . The November 4 visit of the Home Minister P Chidambaram to Jammu has brought about this transformation.
The visit stirred confidence among the people of Jammu and Ladakh and non-separatist and semi-separatist groups , that they were in the reckoning in an equal measure as that of the leadership of the Valley.
As the divisions within the separatist camp and the multiple versions of cooperation between the Kashmir valley centric parties- National Conference and PDP have started becoming visible , the people in Jammu and Ladakh regions feel that a big opening has come to them for the first time in the 62-year-old history of conflict , which manifested violently for the past 20 years, leaving more than 40,000 dead .
Home Minister’s two points – categorical assertion that the Kashmiri Hindu migrants would have to be rehabilitated in full in their homes in the Valley , and that no group would be left out – have rejuvenated the non-separatist camp in Jammu and Kashmir.
Even the Kashmiri Hindu leaders who did not meet Home Minister and are known for their particular point of view , sensed something beyond the Valley syndrome . “ I think there was a message in it that that something larger than one point of view was on the agenda of the government, said Ajay Charngoo, Chairman of Panun Kashmir, a leading organization of Kashmiri Hindus, agitating for “ a separate homeland for the Kashmiri Pandits within the Valley.”
The political leaders of the state, always tagging all the three- region mantra, never went beyond words, the Home Minister, it was felt, had done what the state leadership restricted to words only
First of all, Chidambaram sent a clear message to the separatist that if the talks are to be held with them, that didn’t mean that they would be given the entire ownership of the dialogue process leading to the resolution.
It was explicit that there are other players too. The home of these other players was in Ladakh and Jammu, a snub to those who were trying to put up a unilateral viewpoint , whether in the separatist or mainstream camp or both joining hands to scuttle the involvement of the players beyond a community and a region , Charngoo felt..
The separatists have, time and again , insisted that the problem was in the Valley and that too with those challenging the Indian rule over Kashmir and not the mainstream parties, and in the process to sought to keep Jammu and Ladakh out of it.
That was also a prime reason for them to boycott the three-round table conferences on Kashmir between February 2006 and April 2007.
Chidambaram’s visit to Jammu took place within a week after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's two day Kashmir visit ( October 28 and 29) , when he offered a welcome card to all those saying shunning the path of violence.
By landing in Jagti, where 2060 flats are coming up for the Kashmiri Pandit migrants, to house them till such time they return to the Valley, he tagged an important note with the dialogue process- Kashmiri Hindus who had fled the Valley under the era of threat and violence in the Valley in 1990 , were important stake holders and the community as a whole would have to be resettled in the Valley.
He threw a test for the Kashnmiri separatists and others in Kashmir who have been making tall claims of their return to their homes. They will have to pass this test before asking for concessions. It clearly implied that the concessions or
Confidence building measures were neither for one region nor one community.