February has most definitely been a ‘dramatic’ month for both India and Pakistan. With aerial dogfights and shelling at the Line of Control (LoC) keeping both countries busy, lest not forget the heart of the warring, ‘Kashmir’.
The issue is the same. It’s no longer the nineties. This is 2019. And the Valley continues to be the highest militarized zone in the world. The questions remain the same. Will India engage in talks and dialogue with its arch rival, Pakistan? Can India and Pakistan engage in a ‘sensible long-term diplomatic approach’ for the sake of Kashmir?
Kashmir is a network of mainstream power-hungry politicians, intelligence agents, separatists and the common man. For three decades, the voice of the common Kashmir has been hushed with the armed forces let lose on the people to contain uprisings with pellets and bullets.
A.S Dulat, the retired chief of Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) who has authored a book, in an interaction with a local media house said the present government ‘lacks maturity’ to handle the crisis in the Valley. Dulat described the Pulwama terror attack as the worst attack in Kashmir in the past 30 years.
“I have never seen this kind of attack in the three decades that I have watched Kashmir.” Dulat acknowledged Kashmiri leaders Dr Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) pleading for ‘reconciliation and peace’.
“The Kashmiri people have long lost whatever love he may have had for Pakistan. The Kashmiri also realizes that Kashmir is going nowhere and that India is not going to let go of Kashmir. And you have to make peace within this whole thing.” Dulat says Kashmiris should be given peace, dignity, honour and ‘justice’, “after all Kashmir is our integral part”.
Dulat also acknowledged that peace is currently not in the horizons. “At this point of time, one does not expect any forward movement on peace because people are so riled up and passions are high.”
He added that the Pulwama terror attack was the result of a ‘lone’ youngster who blew himself up. “You can’t get inside the minds of such people. In the West, they say the lone wolf is the most dangerous. There also if it is a lone youngster, his parents will not know, his father will not know.” Dulat said this was a ‘fact’ of Kashmir which was happening with ‘regularity’. “Not blowing themselves up, but boys taking to militancy, taking to the gun and dying within 10 days or so.” Furthermore, the retired RAW chief said Kashmir issue is intense and deep. And during elections, it becomes the boiling point as per the convenience of ‘politics’.