Centre looks for way out in J&K

14 August 2008
The Hindustan Times
Pankaj Vohra

New Delhi: Caught in a cleft stick in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre is looking at several options to cool the heat and to ensure that the separatists cannot dominate the political scene. But talks on Kashmir will always have a non-negotiable element no compromise on India's integrity. Every move will have to be made, keeping in view the Constitutional provisions related to Kashmir as well as the Kashmir Constitution. What is bothering the mandarins at the moment is that the Jammu agitation leaders are not realising that they are playing into the hands of Pakistan and their action is actually strengthening the valley separatists. Highly placed sources said emotions largely hostile have overshadowed the Amarnath land transfer issue. What's more, the secessionists have virtually elbowed out the main-line parties in the Valley. Pointing out that the government's views will, hopefully, be spelt out in the Prime Minister's Independence Day address, a top official said, This is not the time to find faults. The state has to be saved from disintegrating and Pakistan having the last laugh. The Centre is considering various options amid demands for removing Governor N.N. Vora and Home Minister Shivraj Patil and for actions against the likes of former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who is now seen as a villain. one section suggests efforts be made to shift the focus from Kashmir to New Delhi by convening a joint Parliament session to build some kind of a consensus. Otherwise, parties responsible for worsening the situation could be isolated or exposed. There is another suggestion to refer the matter to the apex court, which can assure both sides of a fair deal. Plus, interlocutors can be involved with a two-prong strategy engaging the agitators in a dialogue and influencing the leaders who are involved in the trouble. Simultaneous steps could be taken to lift any kind of blockade that is threatening the supply line to not only Kashmir, but also Kargil, Leh and the other parts of Ladakh. Similarly, supply from the Valley should be reinstated immediately. Besides, border surveillance should be stepped up so that any plan of misadventure by Pakistan gets thwarted. Both sides should come to the table, with the assurance that the non-negotiable clause will not be violated. Finally, eminent citizens with high credibility from all over the country can also involved to show that the government is working towards a solution.