Srinagar: Perhaps setting the undertone for talks, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday tried to impress upon the police force in the state to prepare the ground for a dialogue. The CM’s statement cannot be taken in isolation.
Primarily, because it has come at a time when the central government has already taken an initiative and tried out to reach to all the stakeholders involved in the resolution of Kashmir issue. The centre has already announced an interlocutor who has been given full authority over taking people on board and getting them to talk for seeking a resolution to the issue that has been waiting for a solution since the last six decades or so.
The statement by the Chief Minister asking the police force to restrain from attacking or vandalizing houses of active militants also points out to a larger message that she intended to send out to all the field security agencies. She even offered double award for the policemen who instead of killing the militants during encounters, will catch them alive.
Perhaps, the Chief Minister wishes to spread the word that New Delhi’s recent move to appoint an interlocutor is aimed at creating an atmosphere of reconciliation in the state and if this move is to be taken forward then police has a big role in creating an atmosphere for the process of reconciliation and dialogue.
Establishing peace and setting in motion the process of reconciliation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is not an easy task. The move to take roots permanently needs a lions heart and major confidence building measures.
These measures can be as strong as the one announced by former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, who announced a unilateral ceasefire in 2000 to set things on the right track. Though the move could not be capitalized at that time, but Vajpayee is still remembered by the people of Kashmir for his brave heart move.
Record needs to be put straight because, for all the xenophobic war mongering touted in every medium, the centre cannot win a war against its own people in the state. The centre has to move an extra mile.
Vajpayee took the occasion of holy month of Ramadhaan to strike a chord with the people of Kashmir and now given the seriousness of the dialogue offer Prime Minister Narinder Modi too can exhibit his statesmanship.
Vajpayee, at that time had noted that India had always stood for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and the events of the past few years had underscored the country’s credentials for peace.
The announcement of ceasefire coupled with an offer for a dialogue will set the tone for a fresh beginning, a beginning that will ensure solace for all.
The need for resolving Kashmir issue in the spirit of humanism needs no experimentation, as the long trail of violence, which has claimed so many precious lives and inflicted untold misery on all sections of the State’s population – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs alike, ends peace cannot be achieved.