Centre’s special envoy, Dineshwar Sharma, ex-director of Intelligence Bureau, was given the status of Cabinet Secretary and was accorded ‘Z’ category armed security cover for a special mission in Kashmir.
He was tasked with visiting Kashmir and making a comprehensive report on the existing situation in Kashmir and to understand the point of differences the centre has with stakeholders, groups, and other political parties. The report is crucial for resolving the Kashmir issue for once and for all by 2022 as claimed by Home Minister, Rajnath Singh.
However, the Narendra Modi government’s “Deliberation strategy” to reach a conclusive ground of understanding is bearing little result.
Sharma, before leaving for Srinagar, pointed out: “I do not have a magic wand, but my efforts have to be judged with sincerity and not through the prism of the past.”
Attempts were made to persuade Sayed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik to agree to a resolution-seeking dialogue with the Interlocutor. Any such idea was immediately dismissed by the separatists, reflecting a sad underlying mindset: We do not want to resolve the burning issue of Kashmir. Keeping the dispute alive gives us leverage and keeps us important enough.
Where Mehbooba Mufti saw it as an opportunity to move towards resolution, veteran politician and opposition leader, Farooq Abdullah, questioned the power and autonomy given to Sharma in context to presenting his report in the lower house of Parliament. He even had the nerve to point out that Pakistan should be a party to the discussion.
The “no show” strategy by the opposition party leaders, separatist groups and traders on the first day of Sharma’s visit was a blow to the idea of peace. The calculated strategy with a nonchalant attitude showcased by the otherwise enthusiasts for resolving Kashmir issue brings out an important aspect of political psychology of stake holders and Kashmiri politics.
The politics of separatism has been fuelled by Pakistan over the years. Pakistan has fomented chaos in the region, instigated calls of ‘Azadi’ and funded extremism. Over the years, these voices of dissent have strengthened their roots in the region.
It is all about staying relevant. If the issue of Kashmir is somehow resolved, the separatist leaders will no longer remain important. Power and authority will drain overnight, reducing them to non-entities. These are self-serving people, with no real interest in the lives of common people. The solution also lies in the hands of the Kashmiri people. The sooner they recognise the hidden interests of these extremists, the better it will be for the collective good of the region.