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|| MUDASIR QADRI

             On December 17 as deceptive calm prevailed in the Valley after months of unrest, former union minister Kamal Morarka landed in Kashmir, along with Editorin- Chief of Chauthi Duniya, Santosh Bhartiya, to hold interaction with the seperatists. Two days later, Morarka, after meeting Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, termed the Kashmir situation as scary while accusing the government of India has completely of curtailing the liberties of people in the Valley. He even went further to term as “shameful act” on part of government not to even allow octogenarian Geelani to hold a religious congregation inside his house. In this season of unrest and anti-India anger in the Valley, different panels from New Delhi, both officials and “independent” have been making beeline to the Valley to try and calm tempers and restore normalcy after months of deadly uprising in which 96 civilians were killed and over 15000 injured in action by the security forces. The two member panel led by Morarka, former minister in the PMO and ex- Rajya Sabha member was the latest to enter the Valley which has for past more than a month witnessed intensity of protests and stone pelting incidents come to almost negligible. “I was shocked during my stay in Kashmir.

             There is no democracy, no civil rights and liberties for common people. You can’t hold a peaceful demonstration while disproportionate force is used by the government to muzzle the voice of the people. Despite enjoying special status, Kashmir has become a ‘hell’ due to wrong approach of the State and Central Governments,” Morarka told media after his interactions with the separatist leaders. Like Morarka-led panel, a number of delegations who have been visiting and revisiting the Valley for the past two months have been meeting who’s who of Kashmir politics following the five month long unrest in the region that was triggered by killing of rebel commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani by security forces in south Kashmir’s Bemdora village onJuly 8 this year. But it was the union home minister Rajnath Singh led All Party delegation that first visited Kashmir in September when the Kashmir uprising was at its peak. Singh led a delegation of 30 members from different parties in a bid to engage all stake holders including separatists and try to restore normalcy in the Valley.

Every time there is a crisis in Kashmir New Delhi rushed its managers to the Valley to try and douse the fire but forgets to take forward the initiatives forward to resolve K-issue

            However the panel failed to break the ice with the united resistance camp as all top separatists shut the doors on some members of the panel who had gone to visit them in “personal capacity”. The panel returned to New Delhi, failing to make any ground breaking initiative. During the past two months, Kashmir is back on agenda of these groups which are seen as a covert initiative by New Delhi to try and engage various shades of opinions in Kashmir to restore normalcy. New Delhi has always been accused of focusing its attention on Kashmir whenever the situation goes out of control in the politically volatile state but the moment the situation improves the government of India leave all the initiatives midway till the next crisis hits the Valley. “The problem with New Delhi is that it sees Kashmir an economic problem least ready to acknowledge that the nature of the problem is basically political in nature,” said a political analyst who wished not to be named. Interestingly as the situation in Kashmir has started to improve for the past month or so these New Delhi based groups have got in race with each one of them claiming that it was the lone delegation which had detailed deliberations with cross section of society in Kashmir including students.

              “During his stay in Srinagar the delegation (led by Morarka) mt Hurriyat leaders and cross-section of Kashmir’s civil society, journalists, intellectuals, lawyers, teachers and students and representatives of trade unions and youth. The purpose of the visit was to understand and share sorrow, pain and sufferings of the people of Kashmir,” said a statement issued by the Morarkaled panel to Kashmir. The script has been no different for other non-official panels too. But it was a five-member delegation headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha which was the first team from New Delhi to visit Kashmir in last week of October after the failed initiative by the All Party Delegation. The group managed to break ice with the separatist leaders who had earlier refused to meet the All Party delegation members. In December the committee made its 2ndtrip to Kashmir and even visited some districts of North and South Kashmir to meet people there. In November another panel led by senior journalist Seema Mustafa of Centre for Policy Analysis- a leftleaning think tank- made a similar trip to Kashmir and held meeting with people from corss section of society. But given the track record of these delegations and initiatives in the past people in Kashmir are not giving much importance to these groups even as civil society members and political observers have remained cynical about their outcome. “We have seen what happened to one such initiative which was announced with much pomp and show.

In this season of unrest and anti-India anger in the Valley, different panels from New Delhi, both officials and “independent” have been making beeline to the Valley to try and calm tempers and restore normalcy after months of deadly uprising in which 96 civilians were killed and over 15000 injured in action by the security forces

              It died a silent death and today nobody knows what happened to the slew of recommendations that the penal had given on both economic and political problems faced by Kashmir,” said the political analyst. He was referring to appointment of three interlocutors during the midst of the 2010 summer uprising which had given a submitted a detailed book of recommendations to New Delhi following their scores of visit to Kashmir, in an attempt to evolve consensus on resolving Kashmir. The interlocutors included late journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former Central Information Commissioner MM Ansari who were tasked to prepare a roadmap for resolution of the issue. A civil society member said since such initiatives haven’t led to any success in the past, hoping for any breakthrough from such panels now would be “futile only”. “We don’t expect any breakthrough from these unofficial initiatives,” said the member while demanding that Government of India should enter into dialogue at both external and internal levels for resolving Kashmiris. “Delhi knows the reality but was still acting as an ostrich. The government of India is trying to tire out people of Kashmir not knowing that new generation of Kashmir is up in arms against it. The current unrest in Kashmir showed that people here are united and ready to suffer losses. It is stupidity on part of Indian media when they claim that stonepelting youth are paid. This is the worst journalism on part of Indian media houses. These media houses twist facts and mislead the people of India about Kashmir,” Morarka quipped.

Like Morarka-led panel, a number of delegations who have been visiting and revisiting the Valley for the past two months have been meeting who’s who of Kashmir politics following the five month long unrest in the region