Friday, April 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India



New way-outs in Kashmir

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article “Exploring new way-outs in Kashmir” (Tribune, April 13), Time and again, the leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) have stressed that along with the Hurriyat Conference, India must involve Islamabad in any talks. Some of them seem to have great sympathy for Pakistan. Any talks with Pakistan on the border issue have to be bilateral and within the framework of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. To involve Hurriyat leaders in such talks will be a Himalayan blunder.

There is no let up in Pakistan’s proxy war in the valley. In the name of “Jehad”, Pak-sponsored terrorists and foreign mercenaries are attacking vital security points in the valley and elsewhere, besides brutally killing civilians and setting their houses on fire.

Time is not ripe for starting a dialogue with Pakistan. In any dialogue with Islamabad, we cannot ignore the wishes and sentiments of the people of the Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state.


Give and take: There is no doubt that the history of Kashmir has been a chronicle of serious blunders since India’s independence. The fact is that the road to the solution of the Kashmir problem has been tortuous and the issue has been complicated by certain forces within and without. The present ceasefire has also deepened the malaise. At this time, no folly can be corrected without creating new aberrations or that no plateau can be found without discovering new chasms. The only practical solution is that our politicians should make efforts to find a solution on the Line of Control (LoC) with a give-and-take approach.



Ad hocist approach:
The problem of Kashmir has remained unresolved because none of the parties involved were ever seriously interested in solving it. For almost all Pakistani rulers, it has been an easy tool and a powerful means to divert public attention from political mal-governance, poverty, a failing economy and a deteriorating law and order situation. On the Indian side, our political leaders, right from Jawaharlal Nehru to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, have failed to evolve any consistency of approach and have lacked in clarity and thrust. Even the people of Kashmir and prominent organisations there have been oscillating between pro-independence and pro-Pakistan or status-quo stances.

We have failed in the task of crisis management in Kashmir for more than 50 years. Apart from complicating the issue, this has also resulted in the alienation of the people of Kashmir. They have been over-awed by terrorists from across the border and the unrest among their own youth than any solace offered by the official machinery.

Our approach to this issue has been either ad hocist or we have indulged in tactics of indifference and delay. Little do we seem to realise that every single day of delay only helps the militants to tighten their stranglehold over the helpless and agonised people of Kashmir.


Talking to extremists: Recent events have made most of the Jehadi outfits sit back and take notice of the changes taking place in Kashmir. Even the release of Hurriyat Conference leaders has helped in altering perceptions.

From the task assigned to Mr Pant, it can be presumed that he has rightly moved to fix the snag in the efforts to start formal talks with the Islamic extremists of Kashmir. The offer can lay the foundation of an abiding relationship in this vital area.

These talks need to be seen in the backdrop of improving ties of India and Muslim outfits including clerics. Past prejudices have to be shed. The safety and welfare of our men in uniform is far more important than a few diplomatic pats on our backs. We must take note of the approach of the European Union towards developments in Afghanistan. It has evidently decided to take off the gloves and turn its moral indignation into effective action to deal with the Taliban. The significance of these developments should not be under-estimated.


Be ruthless: The militant groups have bled the valley white over the past 10 years. The Pandits were hounded out a decade ago. More recently, Sikhs were massacred in south Kashmir.

On August 1 last year, Amarnath yatris, a large number of them poor brick-kiln workers, and a Muslim family were butchered. How long will these merchants of death be allowed to spill Indian blood?

The militant groups are all Pakistani plants. The head of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Mohd Sayeed, said on July 1: “The Jehad will continue till Kashmir becomes a part of Pakistan”. Hizb chief Salahuddin vomited venom from Islamabad only days later.

The Hurriyat will talk to New Delhi only after a visit to Pakistan. They need instructions from Pak rulers before they talk to New Delhi.

New Delhi must proceed in a calculated, considered and measured manner. All militants, foreign or local, must be dealt with ruthlessly. Of course, one practical possibility is to centre round a solution on the Line of Control (LoC) on a give and take basis, as suggested by the writer.



B’desh must apologise

Time has come for India to show that it is tolerant only to a reasonable extent. Bangladesh which till yesterday was under the yoke of Pakistan’s military rulers, and was freed by the Indian Army, is today bursting with anger against India. The brutal and barbaric murder of Indian soldiers should make the Government of India rise from its slumber and insist on an apology from Bangladesh.

We should react severely and sternly and show that we are tolerant but not over-tolerant. Bangladesh perhaps is mistaking India as a country where anything is possible but this impression has to be removed. The culprits must be identified and handed over to India for punishment.

Hardly any country has expressed its shock over the barbaric act of Bangladesh soldiers. The people of India are looking at its leaders with surprise at their inaction or near-inaction.

UJAGAR SINGH, Chandigarh


No work, no pay

The non-functioning of Parliament for whatever reasons is unjustifiable in a democracy. Let the formula of "No work, no pay and no allowances" be applied in the case of parliamentarians too as they are causing a great loss to the national exchequer.

What example are they setting to the public, especially the constituency from where they have been elected? This point should be viewed seriously. I hope some NGO takes up the issue as public interest litigation in the Supreme Court.

P. K. VASUDEVA, Panchkula

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