Project Mufti Has Failed: Dulat

1 November 2015
Rising Kashmir
M Ibrahim

Mumbai: Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief, Amar Singh Dulat said 'Project Mufti' had failed as different regions of the State had witnessed increased polarisation ever since Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janta Paryty coalition came to power. Speaking at the Mumbai Literary Festival, Dulat said, 'Project Mufti has failed ever since the Mufti-Modi coalition assumed power in Jammu Kashmir.' Dulat said Mufti in his previous regime had tried to implement a policy of 'Healing Touch' but in the present coalition the chief minister had been left with no touch. The former RAW chief said Mufti was only in a position to say that New Delhi and Islamabad should talk. However, he said Mufti was right in this regard as Kashmir gets relief when New Delhi and Islamabad talk. On a question of the audience about conducting a plebiscite in Kashmir, Dulat said the plebiscite would never take place. 'Let me assure you even if it is held, Kashmir will never opt for Pakistan,' Dulat said. However, he remained non-committal on the question whether Kashmir would opt for India. When the audience pressed him for the reply, the former RAW chief said, 'Kashmiris will opt for an independent state.' The former RAW chief was one of the three panelists for the session, 'Never Ending Story: Can There Be a Peaceful Resolution to the Kashmir Issue?' which was held at Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai. Dulat said his description of handing money to the separatists had been blown out of proportion. 'It is a practice done throughout the world,' he said. 'You do not just win over people with money but it through relationships and there is a need to empathise.' Dulat, who is considered to be close to the three-time chief minister of Jammu Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah said the National Conference President would always tell him that Kashmir was a part of India and would always remain so. However, he said Abdullah is now a changed man and would tell him that Kashmiris needed to rethink. The former RAW chief talked of Farooq as a 'supreme politician' but one who is also reacting to the new conditions. The panel also included Nandita Haksar, the noted lawyer and author of 'The Many Faces of Kashmiri Nationalism' and Danish Rana, the Inspector General of Police, Jammu, and author of 'Red Maize'. Rana's book has been shortlisted for one of the awards at the festival. The panel was chaired by Siddharth Vardarajan, the senior journalist and the founding editor of the online news magazine 'The WIRE'. Earlier, Haksar said there was a need for an 'engagement with the problem'. She said the problem in Kashmir had been misunderstood in India as a communal problem between 'Hindus and Muslims, India and Pakistan, and Kashmir and Jammu'. Haksar called for having a deeper engagement with the problem. Narrating her own experiences of defending one of the Parliament attack accused, S A R Geelani, she said, 'I have myself been labeled as pro-Pakistani.' Commenting on stereotyping of people by Indian TV news shows, Siddharth Vardarajan pointed out that they even accuse a mainstream party like PDP of being traitors. Dulat reacted to it saying that if Mufti was not a Indian, then nothing could be said about anyone in Kashmir. Narrating his experiences as a police officer, Rana pointed at a recent trend in Kashmir of 'thousands of people attending funeral processions of militants'. He said troops, paramilitary forces and Police have even been at the receiving end of the stone pelting by local youth during search operations. Rana said this was nothing but 'sheer frustrations of the youth' and the handiwork of some 'political interests' in the State. He termed Kashmir issue as a 'Sunni radical thing', which was not subscribed to by minorities like 'Shias, Gujjars, Sikhs, Kashmiri Pandits and others'. Rana kept referring to the youth who have taken up arms in Kashmir as terrorists, which was objected to by Haksar saying that even international media organisations like the BBC do not use the word while describing these youth.