Srinagar: Political analysts here see an “effort to lure separatists to the negotiating table” in Dineshwar Sharma’s recommendation to release youths booked for stone-pelting for the first time.
“There were no takers in the separatist camp for the previous posturing of GOI (Government of India),” political commentator Dr Sheikh Showket Hussain said. “They (separatists) had showed complete negative response to the last visit of Sharma. The announcement of the release of stone-pelters is an effort to lure separatists to the negotiating table,” he said.
Sharma was appointed as the GOI’s special representative to Jammu and Kashmir on October 23. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that Sharma would hold a “sustained dialogue” with “all stakeholders” to bring peace in the state.
Dr Hussein said that the decision to release first-time stone-pelters was an effort to invoke a positive response from people of Kashmir and from the pro-freedom groups.
“The thing is, there is an urgency that someone should come forward and lend legitimacy to the peace process,” Dr Hussein said.
He said that the government’s policy of coercion against pro-freedom groups and forcing them to talk has not worked.
Hussein said that this wasn’t the first time that cases were being withdrawn against protesters and stone-pelters. “The Omar Abdullah-led government had also announced such measures in the aftermath of the 2010 unrest,” he said. “But in 2016, people were again on the roads.”
In the year 2011, the Omar Abdullah government had granted a general amnesty to more than 1,200 youths booked for stone-pelting. The amnesty could not fully materialise due to resistance from police and other security agencies.
Political science professor Noor Ahmad Baba said that the GOI was trying to gain a certain degree of credibility by acting upon Sharma’s recommendations.
“If you look at the big picture, then we have to wait and watch as it (the move to release stone-pelters) does not touch the Kashmir issue,” Baba said, referring to the core dispute over the political status of Kashmir. “But things have moved slightly in the positive direction. How far they will go, it remains to be seen.”
Baba said that the GOI seems to have realised that security measures have not worked in dealing with the Kashmir situation.
“After complete inactivity, there seems to be some tangible things happening,” Baba said. “Nobody can assess the intent of such a development. But, surely, it is a signal that something is happening. The larger geo-strategic reasons and pressure from other states can’t also be ruled out.”