‘The ground situation should be dealt with by J&K police and paramilitary’
Srinagar: Former RAW chief A.S Dulat said that the prevalent situation in Kashmir is worse than the 1990s in terms of atmospherics because of alienation and anger of youth.
Dulat said this in an interview with the Indian Express that was published on Wednesday.
Replying to a question, Dulat said, “Yes, the situation is turning worse. Is it worse than in 1990? My answer is yes and no. It is worse in terms of atmospherics. Because of alienation and the anger of youth, young Kashmiri minds have gone out of control. There is a sense of hopelessness. They aren’t afraid to die. Villagers, students and even girls are coming out on the streets. This has never happened in the past.
“… however, terrorism, that intensity of violence and militancy that we saw in 1990 is not there now. There were more guns then… Actual militancy was more then but today the situation is scarier. When stone-pelting is done by youth and girls it’s abnormal… Today, they are proud of being stone-pelters. They are no longer hiding. Schoolgirls and women are coming out to throw stones. The Kashmir situation has never been so bad.”
Dulat said that talks are the only way forward to bring the situation back to normal.
“I interact quite a lot with Pakistanis in Track-II. They had just started avoiding discussion on Kashmir. they would say, ‘Uska koi hal nahin hai.’ My point is there is no solution to Kashmir but why does India not want to give hope to Kashmiris? When India talks you give hope, shayad kuch ho jayen… I would again and again say, please talk. Talking to Kashmiris is not subversive. It’s not anti-national,” Dulat said in the interview.
Dulat, however, punctured the Indian media’s narrative that Kashmir imbroglio is due to radicalisation, though he said that radicalism will increase if the conflict is not lessen.
Dulat said that it is easier to talk to Pakistan than Kashmiris.
“We have to talk disregarding incidents here and there. Surely, we need explanations for Uri, Gurdaspur and Pathankot. But I am told the NSAs of both sides are talking even now… Dialogue must happen between the foreign secretaries and PMs. Modiji is a master of theatre, so he can make it happen. Nawaz Sharif is also a karigar. In a sense, it’s an even scale… I am sorry to say but it’s easier to talk to Pakistan than to Kashmiris.”
Dulat blamed Pakistan for the last summer uprising and said that “ISI, Laskar and Mujahideen are back”.
“In the last five years, Pakistan tried its best to unite all factions of Hurriyat. They failed but now they have got together because this Indian government doesn’t even look at them… When we refused to even talk, what options do Kashmiri leaders have? They have only one fall-back position: show the green flag to Delhi. It’s a sad situation,” Dulat said.
Dulat said that winter is the best time to engage Kashmiris. He also said that the government failed to anticipate and address the uprising after popular militant commander Burhan Wani’s death.
He added that this way the Indian government has “invited Pakistan back into the Valley”.
“Whenever and whatever actions are needed should be taken, but my point is there is no military solution for Kashmir. Anybody who had brains in our recent history understood it… Normally, I insist the Army should be kept away and the ground situation should be dealt with by J&K police and paramilitary. It is the state government that has failed in Kashmir today,” Dulat said.
Dulat also said that imposing governor rule is not a good idea, adding that every Chief Minister in Kashmir knows that no government can survive without the Centre’s support.
Presently, Dulat said, Mehbooba Mufti is the best option for India in Kashmir and genuine support must be extended to her.
Commenting on Kulbushan Jadhav’s death sentence by Pakistan military court, Dulat said that the move will have a serious impact on the relations of two neighbours.