Is it possible? Whether the three member team of interlocutors appointed by the Central govt could find out a permanent solution to the perennial problem of Kashmir? Or the appointment of three interlocutors Dilip Padgaonkar, senior journalist, Radhakumar, academician and M.M Ansari, former Chief Information Commissioner, a mere eyewash by the Central government to make others feel that it is doing something worthwhile to find a solution to the ‘K' word? The formation of three member interlocutors, let's assume is the result of govt's sincerity to wriggle out of a more than six decades old issue needling our nation. Anyhow one doesn't feel like casting aspersions on the three member interlocutors team. Three of them have carved a niche in their respective fields, true, but the billion-dollar question nagging us is, whether any progress could be made in the end. Such a doubt arises in one's mind, here I mean an independent citizen, be he a Kashmiri or any Indian citizen for that matter any person. As I had already mentioned the ‘K' word is six decades old and hitherto each solution thrashed out for namesake gets washed away with the flow of time, bringing the situation back to square one. Still Pakistan lays claim on it, still its militant elements cross the border, from across the border, well-trained, well-funded and provided with sophisticated weapons to wreak maximum havoc in our part of Kashmir. Not only do they kill, cause maximum destruction to properties, they impart jihadi teachings to a section of youth, hypnotizes them into their flock thus encouraging them to fight against their own nation, turning traitors in the process.
Some of the militants get killed, some caught and imprisoned but the story never ends with it as the flow of hard-core militants continues from across the border, thus creating Kashmir a veritable zone of violence and death.
That is only one side of the picture. It is reported that our soldiers and paramilitary forces along with the police are always on the hunt and whoever appear to them suspicious are caught, assaulted, tortured, incarcerated, even done to death. Add to the woes, children especially girl children, married and unmarried women are caught, molested, raped, gunned down and are reportedly thrown away into drainages. Innocents being caught and done to death cause unrest in the valley, people irrespective of young and old, gather in the streets and they give vent to their ire pelting stones at security forces, chanting azadi (freedom) slogans. The oft repeated hunting down of the innocents and large-scale unemployment among educated youth lead to the mindset of anti-India attitude and such a mindset is very cleverly utilized by the anti-India pro-Pakistani organizations. Kashmir was a towering inferno with almost all of the Kashmiris turning violent last summer with the full throated slogans of ‘we want azadi, go India go' renting the air.
As India was to them during the unrest and violence, Kashmiris are equally irate towards Pakistan as the people of Kashmir very well know that Pakistan is not at all a safe place for seeking rehabilitation as that country too was a burning cauldron and even now the case is no different.
What Kashmiri citizens need is peace, stability, a totally violence-free atmosphere, freedom from fear and nightmares and a self-sufficient existence.
Here comes the interlocutors' relevance as at present no other alternative is visible.
Now that three sittings have been completed and in the latest sitting, the committee has come out with certain suggestions.
First and foremost is reducing the trust-deficit between the Kashmiris and the government. To reduce the trust-deficit, one suggestion put forward by the interlocutors is providing employment to unemployed youth. The other one is the release of prisoners. With regard to the claims of Pakistan, confidence building measures need to be taken forward and the talks between the two nations are to be continued, without any halt. By reducing trust-deficit and through confidence building measures the importance of a political settlement is given emphasize by the three-member committee.
We can very well fathom the depth of sorrows of the Kashmiris both in and outside Kashmir, their mother-land being torn to shreds by the militants on a day to day basis with no end in sight. As citizen of India, living at the Southern tip of India, if my pain is that much intense, a typical Kashmiri's pain could very well be gauged.
But unfortunately nobody is sure, when would we be able to see permanent solution to the ‘K' word, whether it is possible at all while two neighbouring nations are always at loggerheads with no signs of relenting by both. Is autonomy to Kashmir a solution? Widespread human-rights violations across Kashmir unleashed by the security forces which led to the killings, maimings and incarceration by applying AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) led to the outburst of a human-rights activist like Arundhati Roy ultimately landing her in trouble even her patriotism reportedly coming under cloud. It is somewhat painful that a lady of her stature is coming under scathing criticism attracting such charges.