Srinagar: Former Indian foreign minister Yashwant Sinha has called for an inquiry into the circumstances under which the by-election was conducted in Srinagar-Budgam parliament constituency on April 9. He said the by-poll turned out to a violent farce.
In an article on NDTV website, the senior BJP leader who led delegations of civil society members twice to hold talks with separatists and other stakeholders in Kashmir in the follow up of the anti-India protests in Kashmir post Burhan Wani killing last year, wrote that the circumstances under which the Election Commission went ahead with the conduct of this election should be subject of an enquiry.
He said that fortunately, good sense prevailed and the Anantnag by-poll has been postponed. “Such elections can only lead to loss of face for us before the world community. My appeal to the Election Commission is to countermand the Srinagar by-election and hold fresh elections for that seat also as and when the situation returns to normal.
He criticized the government of India for its perpetual denial to initiating dialogue in Kashmir. “The silence of the government of India on the issue of dialogue is deafening to say the least,” Sinha wrote. “The group of concerned citizens of which I was a part and which visited the Valley twice in October and December last year pleaded with the government to start the dialogue process. Many other eminent people have also made the same plea from time to time. I am absolutely unable to understand why all these pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.
He said during the winter there was a possibility to initiate a dialogue it was not utilized. “Jammu and Kashmir is a story of lost opportunities, sometimes of lost golden opportunities. One such opportunity had presented itself in the winter just gone by when there was some semblance of normalcy in the Valley. We failed to seize it,” he wrote.
He said he expected Narendra Modi to announce appointment of an interlocutor when he inaugurated a road tunnel earlier this month.
“The least that I expected him (Modi) to announce on the occasion was the appointment of an interlocutor to engage the various stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir in a dialogue process, as promised in the agenda for alliance between the PDP and the BJP before the coalition government in J&K was formed,” Sinha wrote.
He said he is appalled at the violence in the Valley. “I am appalled at our indifference to that violence. I am appalled at the selective amnesia of those in the government and the party regarding the commitments they made to the people of J&K more than two years ago,” Sinha wrote.