The Telegraph
Saturday , December 11 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary
Email This Page
Kashmir solutions across spectrum
Aiyar (top) and Jethmalani

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Leaders from across the political spectrum last night came up with their ideas for solving the Kashmir problem — sometimes conflicting with each other — at a brainstorming session organised by the Calcutta-based Centre for Peace and Progress.

Ram Jethmalani, an MP and a senior lawyer, blamed the problem on extremists among Kashmiri leaders and their counterparts at the Centre. “These mischief mongers (the secessionists and those who want to abolish Article 370 of the Indian Constitution) should be located and neutralised,” he said.

Jethmalani opposed plebiscite or talks with the Syed Ali Shah Geelani faction of the Hurriyat, whom he described as “agents of the Pakistan army and its ISI”.

Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Congress, however, insisted that dialogue must include the separatists and should be unconditional. “Now’s when you need to hear your heart instead of your head. A solution can be attempted when things are normal and there is an uninterruptible dialogue in place,” he said.

Aiyar added that real freedom to Kashmiris would come from panchayati raj, now absent in the state.

CPM’s Sitaram Yechury was also in favour of talks. “We need internal dialogue within Kashmir, dialogue with Pakistan and confidence-building measures by the state and Union governments to deal with humanitarian issues,” he said.

Yechury said the autonomy issue had to be addressed. “Don’t abrogate Article 370 (that gives a special status to the state), live up to it,” was his advice.

Awami National Conference’s Muzaffar Shah said he would organise a summit of people from the five regions of the erstwhile kingdom — Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Pakistan-held Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan — early next year in Jammu. “Let people sit down and come up with a solution,” he said, adding that governance was now the main issue.

Shah did not respond to accusations of ingratitude to the Abdullah family he belongs to. The accusations were made by National Conference MP S.D. Shariq, who also accused Jawaharlal Nehru of going back on his promises to the state.

Bhim Singh of the Panthers Party wanted further devolution of powers and the Line of Control to be declared an international border. “We need three Assemblies for the three regions of the state,” he said.

Email This Page