By Ashq Hussain
September 4 was Rajnath Singh’s third visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. This time he was leading 27-member, all-party parliamentary delegation. The much hyped visit did not yield anything as was evident from the press briefing, he gave on 5 September before leaving for Jammu. The reason for the failure of the APD was because the aim of the visit was to achieve a short-term goal rather than a long term one. They wanted to find a solution to the current anti-India uprising in Kashmir and not to lay a foundation for a sustained dialogue among the genuine stake holders to find a lasting solution to Kashmir Dispute.
The visit was reminiscent of a similar delegation deputed by Congress Government in 2010 when eminent parliamentarians visited the leaders of the “separatist” camp “ in their individual capacities.” Then, the “separatist” leadership had let them in when they knocked at their doorsteps. This time around the same parliamentarians took it for granted that they would be allowed to repeat the 2010 Congress game.
The visit of the all-party delegation would have been hailed by common Kashmiris as a step in right direction if they had invited genuine stake holders in Kashmir Valley for unconditional talks (presuming they would later bring in stake holders from Jammu, Ladakh, “Azad Kashmir”, Gilgit-Baltistan, and above all Pakistan, the most basic party to the Dispute). Such invitation would be construed as an invitation from the Indian State.
Invitations did go to various “separatist” leaders and organizations but not from the Indian State as represented this time around by the Home Minister-led all-party delegation but from Mehbooba Mufti in her capacity as President PDP. On the one hand she claimed that her party was a stake holder vis-à-vis Kashmir Dispute, but on the other she allowed the office of PDP President to be used as an imperial agency. Had any “separatist” ventured to appear before the delegation on the strength of Mehbooba’s invitation, what was the guarantee that Home Minister would not treat them as mendicants.
It is strange that parliamentarians of world repute like D. Raja, Sitaram Yechuri, Assaduddin Owaisi, visited Kashmir as members of the all-party delegation deputed by Indian State but on arriving Kashmir they changed their clothes, and declared they would meet “separatists” not as delegation members, not even as representatives of their respective parties, but as individuals. This meant that the Indian State, and even their respective parties, could disown their actions. If they wanted to meet “separatists” in their individual capacities, then they should have visited Kashmir in their individual capacities rather than as members of all-party delegation.
Instead of hoodwinking the world that the delegation members were sincere in their efforts to bring peace to Kashmir, they should, both on individual and party levels, first declare their stand on Kashmir Dispute and the basis on which they maintain that stand.
Now so far as the leading party, the BJP, be concerned it is the only national party of India that has its roots in Kashmir State having sprung from Jammu Praja Parishad which, in the early years of its career, had a clear cut stand on Kashmir Dispute quite distinct from Congress Party and National Conference, the parties responsible for all the mess in Kashmir. Jammu Praja Parishad was set up on 25 November 1947 by RSS cadres Prem Nath Dogra, Hari Wazir, Balraj Madhoc, and Rup Lal Nanda. It was the first RSS affiliated political party in India.
Travelling a long way through Jana Sangh and Janata Party, Jammu Praja Parishad is now Bharatiya Janata Party. BJP came to power in India first time in 1998. In 2014 it came to power again, this time in Kashmir also as a coalition partner thanks to PDP. When BJP promised in 2014 a Congress free India, Kashmiris hoped that it would shun Congress policies especially their Kashmir policy. But the attitude of the all-party delegation has revealed that Congress and the BJP are the two sides of the same coin when it comes to Kashmir issue.