Editorial : Kashmir back on dialogue table

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One more interlocutor goes to Kashmir to talk to Kashmiris. There is nothing wrong in appointing an interlocutor. There have been so many government and private interlocutors that the appointment of one more does not evoke much of an excitement on the face. So why now, when there has not been much of an outcome from the earlier talkers? An answer to this question lies hidden in the statement of the Army chief General Bipin Rawat which he made some time back.  The chief said, “We are in a position of strength.” 
For the past one year Army and the Jammu and Kashmir police has been carrying ‘Operation All out’ in the valley. So far over 160 terrorists have been killed. These include the dreaded commanders of Lashkar-e -Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahidden, Al Badr and many others. The aim of the security forces is to eliminate the heads of the terror bodies in the valley and cause maximum damage so as to make them rudderless. At the same time, infiltration across the LoC is also being thwarted effectively.  Pakistan has been regularly pushing terrorists along with arms and ammunition across the LoC in Kashmir and Jammu regions. With increased patrolling and better intelligence gathering, the army is being able to neutralise the infiltrators. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has himself said that everyday four to six terrorists are being killed. 
Along with the crackdown against the terrorists, action is happening against their supporters. Hurriyat Conference and other anti-India separatist and terrorist friendly outfits are being investigated for terror funding activities. So far around ten separatist leaders including Shabbir Shah have been arrested and questioned by NIA. 
It is for the first time in 25 years that action is being taken against the Hurriyat Conference.  This pro Pakistan outfit has been working on the diktats of Pakistan. In the 25 year terror period of the valley, Hurriyat conference has received thousands of crores of Rupees funding in the name of Jihad and so called ‘freedom of Islamic Kashmir’. Money from several countries has been flowing to the coffers of Hurriyat. Sources on NIA investigations have revealed that most of the money has been used by the Hurriyat leaders for their personal gains. Many of the Hurriyat leaders, their families and supporters have amassed huge wealth in and outside the country. Children of most of these leaders are either studying or working outside the country even as they exhort ordinary Kashmiris to join “jihad” and force them to violence. Part of the money taken by the Hurriyat leaders is used to sponsor terror and violent activities in the valley. Stone pelters are paid to pelt stones against security forces and the army. Hurriyat and many other organisations running on the name of religion, human rights and social work also run rackets of whats app groups which inflame passions and spread falsehood all the time. Religious sermons are used to exploit and instill fear among the ordinary people. The Hurriyat and other pro Pakistan elements working in the valley have been trying every trick, whether it is money or religion, to keep the pot boiling. As the NIA investigations are going on and day by day more arrests are being made, the public image of these Hurriyat leaders is gradually crumbling.  
NIA has also arrested the son of the Hizbul Mujahidden chief Syed Salahuddin who lives in Pakistan and is totally supported by the Pakistani government. Salahudin is a declared global terrorist but his family has been enjoying a good life in Kashmir. All his seven children are doing jobs in the various departments of state government. The one who has been arrested works in agriculture department of the government. Salahuddin’s daughter’s son has also been arrested. Both are involved in terror funding cases. They were getting money from Pakistan and some other countries. NIA investigation is going on and more people who have been rampantly indulging in anti-India activities will have to face the law. 
On 15th august this year, Prime Minister Narendra  Modi made an impassioned speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. In the speech, the Prime Minister addressed the concerns of the anguished people in Kashmir. He said, “I am clear in my belief on how to win the war against separatism, which is spread by a handful of people….The problem will be solved neither by abuse nor bullets… it will be solved by embracing all Kashmiris… And we are moving forward with this resolve.”
From this speech it could be construed that Kashmir is in for a big change. And the work for bringing the change has been going on ever since. Hence, the two pronged attack against terrorism which necessitated the neutralizing of the terrorists and containing the elements sponsoring and aiding the anti-India feeling in the valley. As the real faces of the Hurriyat is getting exposed, valley is slowly absorbing thoughts other than the farcical “freedom” rhetoric. The local intelligence network which had seized to exist a few years ago is building up fast. The army and the police have admitted that Operation all out would not have been possible without the latent support of locals.  The Director General of J&K police SP Vaid some time back said, “At least 160 militants have been killed in J&K police’s latest security campaign this year but Kashmir needs a political initiative.” 
With the security on its hot pursuit of terrorists and their sponsors, the government has rightly extended the dialogue initiative. Central government has appointed former IB director Dineshwar Singh as the interlocutor. Dineshwar singh has been working in the valley for a long time. He has been involved in the background talks with most of the stake holders in the valley. He is known for his low profile, non publicist and meticulous work. 
 The political spectrum in the valley has been cautious to the appointment of interlocutor so far. BJP and PDP have welcomed. The congress said there is no clarity on the interlocutor’s role and the National Conference welcomed the move initially but wants talks with Pakistan also. The Hurriyat has not given any statement so far which is strange. Earlier, they had been rejecting every move of the central government. But this time, their silence reveals a lot. After the NIA disclosures, the Hurriyat leaders have suddenly gone quiet. It is said that the NIA has collected lot of evidences and many of them point fingers to the hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani too. In this scenario, when the security apparatus has a stronger hand, the offer of talks can act as a window to those who have felt suppressed in the farcical movement created by pro Pakistan lobbies working in the valley.


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