Cultivating trust in Jammu and Kashmir is not ‘manna’ (heavenly gift) but needs “tangible and concrete actions” like constituting a small group of MPs to constantly and periodically interact with all stakeholders, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury has said.
Yechury, who has been part of all-party delegations that have visited Kashmir since 2008, candidly said he was very “disturbed” with the alienation which he found was deeper now than any time before.
“It was a very disturbing experience to be there in this time in Srinagar. Disturbing in the sense that I have not seen the degree of alienation so deep any time before,” the CPI(M) General Secretary told PTI here.
He said he had been to the state in the troubled times of 2008 and 2010 with parliamentary delegations, but “somehow the feedback or the vibes this time were very disturbing. Why this alienation, is something that still bothers me.”
Yechury favoured creation of a small group of MPs for constantly monitoring the situation in the Valley and holding talks on a regular basis with the stakeholders.
“The effectiveness of the decisions we took and the statement we adopted at the all-party delegation level are crucially dependent on the sincerity of the government in implementing it.
“I have said in the meeting itself that mere repetition of ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’ that (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee used or the coinage of ‘Vikas and Vishwas’ that the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) used, are meaningless unless they are backed by concrete actions.
“Vishwas (trust) is not manna to fall from heaven, it has to be created. Vishwas has to be created, and if it has to be created, there have to be tangible steps on the ground,” he said and reasoned that the slogan of Vajpayee was backed by the declaration of unilateral ceasefire – ‘Ramzan ceasefire’, followed by interactions with separatists which continued till January 2004.
‘Manna’ is the food miraculously dropped to people traversing through the wilderness of deserts, according to holy scriptures.
“What I was telling this government is that mere phrases will not deliver. Phrases along with tangible and concrete actions will help,” he said.
Yechury said the main suggestion made at the all-party meeting yesterday was that the process should be carried forward.
“There should be a smaller team of Members of Parliament, let the government decide on its composition, that should be appointed for constant interaction and periodic interfaces with the stakeholders in Kashmir.
“Until you have some sort of a mechanism like this, there are abrupt brakes,” he said, but made it clear that there was “no commitment from the government so far on this”.
About his visit to the Kashmir valley on September 4, he said “it was a very very disturbing experience to be there in this time in Srinagar. Disturbing in the sense that I have not seen the degree of alienation so deep any time before.
Yechury said there were “string of betrayals of promises” that could be identified which includes non-implementation of Working Group’s and Interlocutors’ recommendations made during Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.
“The reports are gathering dust in some shelf in the government….nothing has proceeded on them,” he said and indicated that the people had little trust on the all party delegation that visited the Valley recently.
“So, therefore, there was a question in Srinagar — some asked and many did not ask … We could know they are feeling it and it was that what is the point of another delegation. What has been done to the earlier recommendations? If nothing has moved forward, what will you do?
“So this trust deficit has to be met and that is what we decided. In 2010, I broke out of the delegation and went and met Mr Geelani and at that time, it worked. Soon thereafter, the stone-pelting had stopped and normalcy restored and then interlocutors were appointed. And now, all this happens,” he said.
He regretted that there has been no follow up action till now and therefore these frequent clashes between protestors and security forces have continued.
On the demand for autonomy made by the National Conference, he said “we are very clear and said this publicly that this process of political dialogue should go back to 1948. And revisit — I am not talking of restoring that position – I am talking of revisiting all that was promised to the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370.
“And subsequent developments that have happened. Whatever is anachronistic, needs to be set right. Begin the exercise of revisiting, which is not restoration, and the crucial element in that is autonomy,” he said.