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Frozen NC-PDP relations casts a shadow over Kashmir dialogue

At a time when the Centre has started giving a pace to the dialogue with all sections of people in Kashmir, a widening communication gap between the ruling National Conference and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has cast a dark shadow over the prospects of dialogue on Kashmir.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2010 12:34 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times

At a time when the Centre has started giving a pace to the dialogue with all sections of people in Kashmir, a widening communication gap between the ruling National Conference and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has cast a dark shadow over the prospects of dialogue on Kashmir.

The Centre’ s keenness to open a dialogue on Kashmir – this time attempting to do through a team of interlocuters – is facing a roadblock because the leaders of the two major parties in Kashmir are not even on speaking terms.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti live at a distance of less than half –a-kilometere from each other on Gupkar Road , but they have spoken to each other only three times since July last year, sources said.

These sources in know of the frozen political relationship between the two parties and leaders told HT: “ the channels of communication are broken , and that’s why when PDP announced boycott of the Assembly session on its opening day on Thursday , there was not even a phone call by any of the ruling party leaders to her to reconsider the decision.”

Instead , CPI-M leader M Y Tarigami was sent at the behest of the business advisory committee of the Assembly .

“This politics of prestige is harming the dialogue process which the Centre intends to initiate and make it a sustained exercise till some results are visible,” said a senior official who is playing a behind the scene role in working the contours of the dialogue.

The commoners’ view here is ,If the two mainstream parties representing 38 Assembly ( 19 each ) out of 46 seats of the Valley don’t have any interaction with each other , it’s difficult for them to see how separatists and the youth will come on board.

“When these two parties and their leaders can’t agree on small things, then how can moves be made to resolve the Kashmir issue,” , says Aaliya Ahmed , senior assistant professor in the Media Education and Research Centre of Kashmir university.

The stake holders in Kashmir , range from mainstream parties to separatists and the new generation that has witnessed 20-year turmoil and more than 50,000 dead and 110 in the last four months.

For them the dialogue must precede a “ sense of relief” , which , according to them would come with the removal of the camps of the army and central paramilitary forces. In this regard , they feel that the leaders whom they had voted for should speak up in one voice.

“Let the paramilitary forces camps go, I should be saved from the humility of passing through the bunkers with men staring at me all the time, or with the change of their commander asking my father how many members in the family are,” said a young girl in her twenties who lives in a downtown area. She requested not to be named .

Here comes the role of the NC and PDP, but they are locked in their own political battle of running down each other . “ They ( two parties) must sink their differences if they claim that they are working for the people of Kashmir,” Mubeen Hayatt of Habba Kadal who says that he has won enmity of many of his neighbours because he had cast his vote in 2008 Assembly elections.

First Published: Oct 05, 2010 12:33 IST