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'BJP?s clout can?t be ignored'

The question of Kashmir is linked to five factors: the center, the state of Jammu and Kashmir, inter-regional parties, India-Pakistan, and BJP, says Peer Gayasuddin.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2002 22:01 IST

Peer Gayasuddin
Senior political activist, analyst and writer from J&K

Q:What were the factors that precipitated the crisis in Kashmir?

PG: Many people talk of the 1987 rigged elections, but I do not think it is the main factor responsible for the current crisis.

History of merging Kashmir with Pakistan goes back to 1947 and even before that there was a conflict since 1938 between National Conference and Muslim Conference. In 1944, Jinnah failed to win over Sheikh Abdullah and merge Kashmir with Pakistan.Abortive attempts were also made to persuade Pakistan to recognise the special status of Kashmir.Sadiq Saheb went to Lahore where he met Liyaqat Ali Khan but the latter declined the demand for a special treatment to Kashmir.Khan said, "You are like any other Musalman state and Musalmans are single entity; there is no question ethnic or other identity".

So, therein lay the seeds of the crisis.

Also, the Kashmiri people have had a mixed culture, which was never purely Muslim nor impeccably Hindu. At the core of this culture was the tremendous fund of secularism and religious tolerance held aloft by sufi saints such as Nandreshi Lalded and Shah Hamdan. Apparently, Pakistan experts on Kashmir had studied the whole question and evolved a solution to dilute this culture by funding Muslim fundamentalist cadres in Kashmir. This had begun as early 1960. Sadi and even Bakshi, resisted this. When Sheikh Abdullah was back, he also resisted it.

All these were the real factors that triggered the Kashmir bomb and not the rigging of the election, as is popularly believed.

Q:What are the factors upon which the solution to the Kashmir problem hinges?

PG: The question of Kashmir is linked to five factors: the center, the state of Jammu and Kashmir, inter-regional parties, India-Pakistan, and BJP.

Q:How much would you lay store by the current initiatives to outdo violence and unrest in the Valley?

PG: Not much In fact, there seems to be no will on the part of the Government of India to solve the Kashmir problem. People such as Mir Qasim, Soz and others have given so many notes and suggestions. I do not know what the Government has done.

And, if one were to talk of the Kashmir leadership, there is not much of that left anyway. Sheikh Abdullah is gone. The militant groups are not prepared for talks. Many delegations went there but the militant groups did not talk to them.And, those militant learders veer around to prepare for talks are bumped off.

The only group left there now is the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hurriyat, in which the fundamentalist sway is blatant.

About the Kashmiri people themselves, I may tell you that they are a silent majority. They are fed up with the militancy. But they are passive factors, not active.

Q:What is you advice to the peace initiators?

PG: My suggestion is that the Government of India should take a stand. Let the militants come round the table unconditionally. No conditions should be attached. It will have an impact on the people and people may press the militants to talk to the Government. The Kashmiris have for long been talking about the right of self-determination. They think it is synonymous with plebiscite. Let them talk about the right of self-determination culture, language and plebiscite. We should not be afraid of that. I think now people in Kashmir are expecting some initiative by liberal opinion in India and the erstwhile traditional leaders of Kashmir.

I also think there should be an advisory committee of all parties. Dr. Karan Singh, Mir Qasim, Bhim Singh, Balraj Puri and other traditional leaders should be involved in this advisory committee. Let that committee be formed and let there be talks. But these talks should be centralised in pursuance with the talks under Simla Agreement with Pakistan because the Kashmiri hard-core militants will be on defensive through the process.

First Published: Sep 08, 2002 22:01 IST