Quiet Diplomacy draws flak

By S.M. Pandit

February 2010

JAMMU, Dec 22:  Government of India’s initiative of “Quiet Diplomacy” came under sharp criticism at a seminar “Quiet Diplomacy—The Nationalist Concerns” organised by Panun Kashmir at Press Club here today. The speakers doubted the sincerity of the GoI as it has undermined its own democratic initiative and is considering Kashmir as a Muslim sphere of influence. The GoI’s initiative has generated apprehensions amongst the minority and nationalist forces and the speakers warned the Indian State of  serious implications of ignoring the aspirations of the minorities.

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In his inaugural address, Prof. M.K. Teng, the distinguished political think tank and Chairman Panun Kashmir Advisory, questioned the wisdom of naming the initiative as “Quiet Diplomacy” and said that the process is gradually leading towards building a separate Muslim sphere of influence on the territory of  India. He said that the Government of India shall understand that Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan are supplementing each others cause and the same has now come to the fore in the shape of demand for tripartite talks. He said that for last sixty years Pakistan has been holding the position that any solution that is acceptable to Kashmiris will be acceptable to Pakistan and the Hurriyat and Jehadi forces are also talking of the process that is acceptable to Pakistan. He said that on the eve of partition Congress was in favour of “Right to Referendum” but Muslim League and the British were opposed to it.

Analysing the so-called Musharraf Formula, Prof. Teng said that it is aimed at consolidation of Muslim influence in the state for its ultimate secession from India and accession with the Muslim Pakistan. Elaborating on the plan he said that the Regional Councils in application means division of Jammu into Muslim Majority and Hindu Majority areas, porous border means integration with PoK and self-rule means transferring power to Muslims and joint control implies questioning the accession of J&K to India. He added that the interesting part of the plan is that it will be reviewed after ten years and by ten years India will not be in a position to hold the referendum as the state will be completely a Muslim state. He warned Indian state of any such compromise as it will uproot the minorities from Muslim majority areas and leave them to the servitude of Muslims.

Speaking on the topic, Prof. Virender Gupta, President of Jammu State Morcha, said that the Home Ministers’ announcement about quiet diplomacy has sprout apprehensions in the minds of nationalist people as they are ignorant about the contours of the dialogue and has come after PM’s admission that India had reached a solution with Pakistan but the situation in Pakistan derailed the process. He accused Indian state of pursuing appeasement policy towards Muslims and Questioned the logic of holding dialogue with the likes of Geelani, who describes Kashmir as part of Islamic Pakistan, a protognist of self rule or the advocates of greater  autonomy who describe accession conditional.

He lamented that after 20 years militancy, GoI didn’t issue a white paper to fix the responsibility on the internal and foreign elements. He wondered what will be the future of nationalist forces who are for total integration of J&K with India. Prof Gupta said that JSM demands reorganisation of the J&K state with a secured place for Kashmiri migrants who have been uprooted from the Valley as it is the only solution to the problem.

Prof. Dipanker Sen Gupta of the Department of Economics the University of Jammu, described decentralisation of power and empowering the representatives as prelude to any result oriented talks. He said that he doesn’t want Jammuites to be seen as negationists but for solutions there should be ways and means. He said that holding talks with those who are shying from proving their representative character or those who have not been empowered are destined to fail. Such results are destined to be distorted. Prof. Dipanker Gupta advocated for extension of 73rd and 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution to J&K as Panchayats in the state are a farce. He advocated that before holding any meaningful dialogue the people who are to represent people should be empowered otherwise the solutions will be distorted. The representatives should be ensured of their safety otherwise the talks amount to be between the blackmailer and the blackmailed and the ensuing solutions are supposed to be a failure.

Terming the situation critical, Prof. Hari Om accused the national parties of not discharging their duties and abandoning the minorities and nationalist forces in the state. He said that Indian state has to think whether it has to abandon or empower the 40% minorities in the state. Painting national political parties with same brush, he said that the former Pakistani Foreign Minister, Sartaj Aziz claimed that the two nations had reached a settlement on Kashmir at Colombo during NDA rule but because of the Kargil, the agreement was not implemented. He said that the solution as claimed by Aziz was totally anti-India but BJP has not refuted his claims. He expressed his dismay that during debate on “Quiet Diplomacy” in the Rajyasabha, BJP leader Arun Jaitley wanted to know from the government whether Omar Abdullah was taken into confidence and P.Chidambaram replie that the two-Chidambarm and Omar Abdullah are on the same page. Accusing India of patronising separatist and communal forces in the state, Prof. Hari Om said that the British Patronised Muslim League thought it was marginalised but the same ended up in creation of Pakistan and the India is committing the same mistake.

Panun Kashmir Chairman Dr Ajay Chrungoo accused Indian state of undermining its own democratic initiative by the launch of “Quiet Diplomacy” and said that deepening of democratic process in the state comes in conflict with the policy of the Government of India. Referring to the initiation of RTCs by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Dr. Ajay Chrungoo said that even coinage of the name had inherent apprehension as the British Government had initiated same process on the eve of Independence. He said that all the nationalist forces in the state had apprehension that by intiating  such process, the GoI was accepting Kashmir as a dispute and giving a locus standi to Pakistan. He said that the initiation of such process was a departure from the stated stand of India on Kashmir being the internal or bilateral issue. RTC by implication meant making Kashmir a multipartite issue. The only bright aspect of it, that forced the nationalist elements of the state including Panun Kashmir to join RTCs was that India by implication was identifying the diversity of the state and the platform would give them an opportunity to represent their case in the transparent way. He added that now India has undermined its own democratic and transparent initiative by replacing it with quiet talks.

He expressed surprise that India was still nursing hope to rope in elements of the likes of Umar, Sajad and Shabir. He accused Indian state of undermining democratic process as the  deepening of democratic process in the state comes in conflict with the policy of government of India. He wondered why the talks on delimitation cannot be initiated and added that the phenomenon needs to be understood. Delivering his presidential address, former DG J&K Police MM Khajuria exhorted nationalist forces in the state to come out of the defensive mood and determine and define the  national interest in the state.

Mr Khajuria described it a major flaw in the Kashmir policy of the Indian state to give representative character to the secessionist which they have not proved as the influence of even Omar Farooq does not go beyond seven mohallas of Srinagar. Asking the nationalist forces in the state to be alert, he said that we have no idea about the thinking of GoI. He said that earlier a process was initiated in the name of “Insanyat” and now international dimensions are being talked about.

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He asked the Indian state to come out of the apologetic mood and withstand its Parliament resolution of 1994. Describing Kashmiri Hindus as the victims, he said that an environment is to be created for the safe, secured and dignified rehabilitation. He said that no solution is possible that does not address the Kashmiri Hindu issue.