India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley came to Kashmir and left. In the process, he dashed the hopes of some here. His statements were snub to those who believe a change in guard at New Delhi may initiate a process towards the resolution of this issue. Rhetoric it is and people here are used to such statements dished out to assert that New Delhi is happy with the status quo. Jaitley’s suggestion of holding talks with anyone under the purview of Constitution of India describes the policy of the Modi government vis-à-vis Kashmir. It also explains that like the UPA government, the National Democratic Alliance doesn’t prioritize the Kashmir issue in its agenda. It will be too naïve to think that New Delhi may go an extra mile to find a solution to this puzzle. Two facts that Jaitley spoke about establish that this long pending issue will see no progress, atleast for next five years.
In his press conference, Jaitley virtually ridiculed both the pro-freedom and the pro-India political camp. He dismissed the possibility of engaging two prime parties, Pakistan and Kashmir, in the near future. The riders with which he reached out to both Pakistan government and the pro-freedom camp here, clearly indicate that his government, for the time being, is satisfied with present state of affairs in Kashmir. An indication that he made by highlighting the ‘peaceful’ completion of Lok Sabha polls and inflow of tourist into Kashmir signify that New Delhi is content with not taking a step forward. Jaitley knows that occasionally or frequently, any party can violate the ceasefire along the volatile Line of Control. He is also aware that any resolution suggested within the ambit of Constitution of India will be unacceptable to the pro-freedom leaders in Kashmir. He came prepared to execute his mission Kashmir; however, in this process caught the regional politicians off the guard.
Before LS poll results, few Kashmiri politicians pinned hopes on Modi-led brigade in a belief that apparently a bold decision making BJP may take some initiatives, but a maiden visit by one of its important members proved these people wrong.
Meanwhile, people of Kashmir will continue to be the victims of political uncertainty. What a pity that the death and destruction in Kashmir during past two decades, mass protests, killings of youth, particularly since 2008, and this year’s poll boycott doesn’t change the mindset of successive regimes in New Delhi