Mr. Madhavrao Scindia on Hizbul ceasefire
By Kumkum Chadha
What are your views on the Kashmir imbroglio and the much touted autonomy issue? Is peace possible?
What is required is a three-pronged approach. One is the paramilitary action to curb militancy. That alone is not enough. There has to be a dialogue, which is not confined to a political party or a section of people but to a very wide cross section of people and to all political forces within the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There is a feeling of neglect growing in Jammu and Ladakh and the representative opinion of these two regions must also be totally identified with the entire Jammu and Kashmir exercise. I think the government has failed to bring about this atmosphere of confidence. The minimisation of corruption, arresting the sense of alienation and true economic development of the state is what is required. Autonomy is no substitute for bad governance and the National Conference will have to look at its track record. It is a fact that Jammu and Kashmir gets 14 times more financial aid from the Union government than Bihar does and 11 times more than Tamil Nadu. Where has all this gone? Where is the manifestation of developmental activities? Therefore as youth gets frustrated and looks with great apprehension to a jobless future it becomes an easy recruitment ground for those who want to create trouble within Jammu and Kashmir.
You mentioned a dialogue. Your colleague Natwar Singh has been saying India and Pakistan should talk. Hizbul Mujahideen is saying no talks are possible within the Indian Constitution despite its call for cease-fire
The democratic exercise within our country in any state envisages dialogue as its basis so that wide sections feel that they have had a chance to air their grievances. Therefore, Congress would welcome a dialogue but it has to be one which is within the ambit of the Indian Constitution and one which recognizes the territorial sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
What about talking to Pakistan?
Since the signing of the accession by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947, Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of India. Not only Jammu and Kashmir but even Pakistan occupied Kashmir becomes an integral part of India.
You are sounding like Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee..
Except what Mr Vajpayee says he does not seem to carry out. With Pakistan there is no question of discussing Kashmir at all because this is an inalienable part of our country. But yes, there are issues like cross-border terrorism, smuggling and bilateral relations on which we can and should talk. Having said that I must concede that we have had a very bitter experience in Kargil because of the naivete of this government. They just walked into the forest of Lahore like little Red Riding Hood and their heads were bitten off.. But that does not mean that you cease dialoguer
Source: The Hindustan Times
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