Interlocutors and their report

Radha Kumar, a fine academician was one of the three interlocutors appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the backdrop of political unrest in 2010. They compiled a report and submitted it to then Home Minister P Chidambaram almost within a year after their appointment. The report was, however, kept in cold storage for many months and then made public.

 

 

At the time of making it public the MHA had virtually disowned it and had sought feedback from the people. That process was also complete and done by Radha herself along with the other interlocutor, Dileep Padgaonkar. Now after long time Radha seems fuming over Government of India’s approach of ignoring the recommendations they had given to address various issues in Jammu and Kashmir. Her complaint may be genuine but there is a context to entire exercise that was conducted hurriedly by a Home Minister who always thought that wisdom had never moved beyond his brain. He ostensibly announced the interlocution to pacify the situation, after the Valley witnessed a bloodbath claiming lives of 120 people, mostly youth in the age group of 8-30 years.

However, there was a basic flaw in his intention. First and foremost being the fact that the group of interlocutors had no clear mandate to address the political issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which formed the basis of the problem. The process was vague from day one and the three interlocutors viz Radha, Padgaonkar and MM Ansari never had a consensus on any issue. They could not hide their differences even in public. At the end of the day the interlocution failed to arrive at a consensus and rather instigated the already existing tensions between various regions. Even if there were some good suggestions, there is hardly any possibility of taking note of them as New Delhi has always failed to keep its promise and resorted to betrayals with people in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947.

Even as Chidambaram himself said on floor of Lok Sabha that Jammu and Kashmir was a unique problem and needed unique solution, he failed to address this uniqueness even through a daft exercise of interlocution. Past experiences stand testimony to the fact that no such process has yielded any result, which could make people believe about seriousness on part of Delhi. Recommendations by five working groups set up by Prime Minister are biting dust though there is a slow pace movement on certain issues. But the contentious issues such as withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act as recommended by one group headed by current vice president Hamid Ansari have not been taken up at all.

It was easier for the government to look at some of the apolitical suggestions given by the group but it has never budged on its self-made promise of not moving forward on Kashmir and seeing it as mere law and order problem. Radha Kumar should not make any complaints as she is well aware of the state craft and knows about the fate of all such exercises in the past.