Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] leader Yashwant Sinha criticised India’s approach to Kashmir, insisting that they have “lost the people of the valley emotionally.”
In an interview with The Wire, the former Indian foreign minister came down hard on BJP-led government’s alienation of the Kashmiri people. “I am looking at the alienation of the masses of people in Jammu and Kashmir. That is something which bothers me the most… We have lost the people emotionally… You just have to visit the valley to realise that they have lost faith in us.”
The BJP leader stressed that Pakistan is a necessary third party for a resolution of the Kashmir conflict. “If you want a final resolution then we’ll have to involve with Pakistan at some point of time… Yes, you can’t carry on with this forever.”
Referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 15 speech about embracing the people of Kashmir, he said the people in Indian-occupied Kashmir [IoK] were still waiting.
“Then the home minister goes to Srinagar and he says ‘we are prepared to talk to all stakeholders, I invite all stakeholders to talk to me’. Now, what is this?” he asked. “That he is sitting in the guest house, and people will come and seek an appointment? Is this the way a dialogue is conducted?”
In January, Sinha-led team of “concerned citizens” published a report on Kashmir, observing that there was a “near complete lack of faith in anything that the government of India says or promises because of a history of broken commitments.” It said the Kashmiri feel “India refuses to recogise that Kashmir is a political problem and therefore requires a political solution. ”
Sinha stressed that the situation had deteriorated since making alienation “deeper and wider than it was earlier.”
Government forces in Indian-held Kashmir have been using pellet guns since 2010 as a ‘non-lethal’ weapon following wide-scale civilian protests against Indian rule.
Earlier in September, Amnesty International reiterated its call for a ban on pellet-firing shotguns used by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir to quell civilian protests. In a report the rights group said it had interviewed 88 people whose eyesight had been damaged by the metal shot from the pump-action guns. Two of the victims had been completely blinded.