Former RAW chief A S Dulat’s surprise take on Kashmir
Amarjit Singh Dulat, former chief of the research and analysis wing (RAW) and the former special director of the intelligence bureau (IB), criticised India for not being able to “accommodate Kashmir”. He was speaking on Kashmir and the need of the hour to solve the problem, while delivering a lecture at Patrakar Bhavan in Pune, organised by Kakasaheb Gadgil Pratishthan.
"I do not think we understand how much a Kashmiri wants to talk and how much he wants to be heard. When there is so much chaos, no one wants to hear anything. Kashmiris do not want much. The azadi (freedom) that they want, if I could try and describe it, is accommodation. They want their honour, dignity and most of all, justice. Such a big country like India, can we not accommodate one little Muslim majority state within the Indian unit? Can we not give them a promise, this great country of ours? That is all that is required," said the former officer of the Indian police service (IPS).
Anant Gadgil, Congress member and member of the legislative council, was present at the lecture, along with member of the pratishthan, Dr Mukesh Tulpule.
Dulat spoke fondly about not only Kakasaheb Gadgil, Anant Gadgil’s grandfather and a freedom fighter, but also about Sanjay Nahar who was present in the audience. The venue was teeming with people sitting on the floor and standing as well.
Speaking about the backlash of his statement, Dulat said, "I know that when this appears in the press, I know I will be challenged. Kya baat kar rahe ho? Yeh azadi hai kya? (What are you saying? Is this freedom?) Kashmiir mujhe kahenge, kya mujhe accomodation mangi hai? Isliye itni jaanien di hai? (Kashmiris will ask me, did we ask for accommodation? Is that why we gave up so many lives?) And in Delhi, no one will listen anyway. But, this is it, the basic requirement."
Dulat also shared his wisdom about the politics in Jammu and Kashmir. He opined that the local parties have realised long ago that one party can never form a majority government. "Kashmir has come full circle. Kashmiris wont agree with this statement easily. I say that the next election, I see Omar Abdullah as the chief minister. No party in the valley can form a single majority government. Next coalition in Kashmir will be what it was in 1886-1887, a Congress-National Congress coalition. That is the way I look at it," Dulat said.
Throughout the lecture Dulat exclaimed, more than once, that accession is not an option for the country. Speaking about an old conversation with Yashwant Sinha, who has also spent considerable time in the valley, Dulat said, "He went to the valley this one time and upon returning he said that we are losing the valley. I said , no, we are not losing the valley. We will never lose the valley. Kashmir will always remain in India, but someone should at least try to understand it."
Dulat has been a long-time advocate for dialogue with Kashmiri separatists.