India offers fresh peace talks to Kashmir

September 5, 2010

Kashmiri protesters throw stones towards police during an anti-India protest in Srinagar September 4, 2010. REUTERS/Danish IsmailNew Delhi has expressed its willingness to hold talks with ”any group” from Kashmir where protests against Indian rule have mounted in recent weeks and government forces have killed at least 65 people, mostly stone-throwing protesters.

The civilian deaths have fuelled anger in the disputed Himalayan region where anti-India sentiments run deep though militant violence has gone down.

“We hope to restart the dialogue process. We will talk to any group, any political party which is willing to talk to us,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

According to Hindustan Times, the government will soon come out with specific meaures to address some issues which may bring relief to the people of Kashmir.

A nearly three-month-long separatist strike, curfew and security lockdown has kept the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley on the boil, shutting down much of the scenic region.

“Few days means few days…government hopes that it will be able to re-start the process of dialogue in the near future,” Chidambaram said.

After several failed rounds of peace talks between moderate separatists and New Delhi in the past decade, locals say India is only buying time and is not serious about resolution of the dispute.

In 2008, the biggest anti-India protests in two decades died down and India successfully held local elections in Kashmir a few months later. New Delhi showcased the election as an endorsement of its rule over the region.

Now Kashmiri separatists have laid down five conditions to enter into dialogue or end violent protests, the worst outbreaks of anti-government violence since a separatist revolt against New Delhi broke out in 1989.

The conditions include that India must accept Kashmir as an international dispute, revoke all oppressive laws including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives Indian troops wide powers to shoot, arrest and search in battling a separatist insurgency.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the country’s main opposition, has warned New Delhi against any compromise on Kashmir and said there are indications that the government “is all set for some panic steps“.

Separatists want Kashmir’s complete freedom from India while New Delhi sees the mountainous region as an integral part  of the country.

There is a gulf between their positions and New Delhi and Kashmir doubt each other’s sincerity. The two sides may find it difficult to start fresh peace talks soon and Kashmir may bleed more.

4 comments

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“locals say India is only buying time …..” and quote, as proof, a report dated 07 Aug 10. This happens to be prior to Chidambram’s statement as per my recollection.

Then again, this kind of reporting is merely par for the course on this site and this author.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

basic problem with Delhi is what to offer Kashmiris politically & whom to offer when it has failed to reach to the external dimension of problem Pakistan,with now China pin-pricking India (Indian PM statement TOI)Indian state think-tanks further confused regarding restoration of autonomy/self-rule to J&K????only time will tell……what Indian state’s next move is going to be……

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive

I’m not a BJP supporter but I think their assessment is right in this case. The Indian government seems to be panicking, and that’s never a good way to solve problems. Yes, there’s a serious problem in Kashmir, but that’s all the more reason for the government to stay calm and focused.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Mr. Sheikh Mushtaq,
The offer by India of talks and the reaction by Kashmiri leaders has left no doubt that Kashmiris should be ready for a long haul.

3 parties (the leaders) are equally responsible for the mess India-Pak-Kashmir are in.

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waleekamil said: “basic problem with Delhi is what to offer Kashmiris politically”
***Agreed. But do you believe there is a mature leader on Kashmir’s side who can hold his/her own and navigate Kashmir to peace.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive