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Yashwant Sinha calls for dialogue to solve the Kashmir issue

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-10-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

New Delhi: The situation in Jammu and Kashmir will “dramatically improve” if the central government initiates a dialogue with various stakeholders, former Union minister for external affairs and senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha said.

Pakistan will also have to be involved in it at some point of time, he added.

“No human wants violence. People want peace and I am convinced that despite 70 years having passed, there is still a large constituency for it,” Sinha said in a speech at the annual Manthan Samvad, a public discourse forum, on Monday.

“It is entirely our fault for alienating our own people. I personally feel that the paramilitary force and the police are competent. I’m against the excessive use of the armed forces for internal law and order operations. This will act as a balm on people’s psyche,” said Sinha, delivering a talk on Kashmir—Now & Way Forward.

“Of course there is terrorism and of course Pakistan is exporting terror. But it has been two-and-a-half years since the PDP (Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party)-BJP alliance was formed, but we still not started the dialogue process,” he added.

The BJP leader said that during Partition, Jammu and Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority state that rejected joining Pakistan and acceded to India. He added that the people in the “suffering state” expressed a feeling of betrayal and pointed out that at least four generations have lived in a “stifling atmosphere under the shadow” of the security forces.

“If you don’t use pellet guns anywhere but in Kashmir, it gets noticed. Please identify the stakeholders. They are the politicians, the youth, trade bodies, intellectuals, etc. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister, he decided to start a dialogue and appointed the deputy PM as an interlocutor. But the people there will not be impressed with a dialogue without a time frame,” stated Sinha.

He suggested a two-stage process, by first starting a dialogue process with the people of the state, and then one with Pakistan.

Sinha, who recently criticised Union finance minister Arun Jaitley over the Centre’s management of the economy, however refused to take names of people in the government while taking questions from the audience.

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