“It is good but could have been better” — this in a sense summarises the views of the middle class, the academia, and the student community in Kashmir on the Centre’s eight-point formula for the Valley.
Gul Mohammad Wani, professor of political science at Kashmir University, hopes the jobs of interlocutors (one of the eight points) do not go to retired bureaucrats.
However, he pins hopes on men such as N.N. Vohra (former Union home secretary who is governor of the state), Wajahat Habibullah (retired textile secretary who belonged to the J&K cadre of the IAS, and is currently the central information commissioner) and Karan Singh (Rajya Sabha member who belonged to the royal family of Kashmir).
Before becoming governor, Vohra was in negotiation with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on behalf of the central government.
“It appears the government of India has acted promptly on the inputs given by the all-party delegation. The state government has been made conscious of its responsibilities,” Wani said.
Students are hopeful.
Arif Bashir, who studied journalism at Kashmir University and is a filmmaker now, said: “It is a very credible step. The eight-point package is highly realistic. The composition of the all-party delegation was also well thought out.”
The street too takes a healthy view of the development. “It’s good that something positive has happened,” said Shugufta Akhtar, a school teacher.
However, there are some who expected more.
Abdul Majeed, a clerk with J&K Bank, said, “This is nothing in comparison with what we have lost in all these months. We lost our sons and people are on the verge of starvation due to the continuous curfews and strikes. I was expecting they would grant us autonomy, if not azaadi (freedom).”
Sameer Ahmad, a telecom engineer, is not impressed. “The package is a farce. There is nothing in it that can be termed favourable for Kashmir.”