DOST KHAN / ANCHOR
JAMMU: The reported inclination of Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for engaging in talks with New Delhi on the so-called Kashmir issue has bubbled over as a non-event. Except for the acknowledgement by Governor Satya Pal Malik, the development has turned out to be just a piece of news rather than any event, creating turbulence in the troubled Jhelum waters. Is the indifference of Kashmir to this latest development a sign of fatigue or reflective of rejection of elements like Mirwaiz and the Hurriyat bandwagon? Latter proposition seems to be a probability, given the fact that no tears got rolled down for Shabir Shah, Yaseen Malik or Asiya Andrabi, currently languishing in jails for alleged acts of money laundering, terror violence and sedition.
OFFER OR PLOY
The confirmation about Mirwaiz’s willingness to talk came from the Governor days after the Centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma met him in Raj Bhavan. Obviously, the interlocutor must be holding back-channel talks to rope in the so-called stakeholders on negotiation table. He and others like him have been trying so for decades without any tangible success. Therefore, Mirwaiz’s willingness raises many questions than rekindling any hope about peace returning to the Valley. What has been the motivation or compelling circumstances for the Mirwaiz to mellow down from his hard posturing vis a vis the Centre? Is it fear of meeting the fate of Shabir Shah and others? The Mirwaiz has recently travelled to NIA headquarters in the national capital for questioning on alleged money laundering. Initially, he had taken recourse to threat perception to avoid NIA investigations but the resolute agency made him to bow down. He has deposed before the premier investigating agency. Obviously, the investigations must have revolved around money laundering through Hawala channels. Money laundering and terror funding has decades old history in Kashmir. However, it received spurt after the onset of terrorism in 1990 with the list of beneficiaries across the spectrum in Kashmir stretching. According to WikiLeak cable, the then US Ambassador to India David Mulford had told his State Department in February 2006: “Kashmir politics is as filthy as Dal Lake. Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and foreign extremists had given an incentive to its leaders to perpetuate the conflict. This river of dirty money…calls into question whether the Kashmiri elite truly want a settlement to their problems. The minute a deal is struck; some must surely worry that the funds will dry up.” Decades later, it is not the issue of funds drying up in the wake of any settlement; it is actually the realization dawning upon separatists about their irrelevance in Kashmir landscape. Terrorists are after their lives and the people of the Valley are totally indifferent towards them. They are finding themselves between deep sea and the devil, with heat of investigating agencies intensifying after re-election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. The appointment of Amit Shah as Home Minister has made all the difference. The Jihadis and their sympathizers in the Valley are reading writing on the wall and being smart enough they are now trying to reverse the course by employing clever tactics. Finding themselves pushed to the wall, the separatists are desperately trying to get some sort of immediate breather from the ongoing investigations and hot pursuit initiated by the central agencies. Hence recourse to ‘dialogue’, a clever ploy to keep the Centre in good humour! There are facilitators as well who keep ranting dialogue quite frequently. The nation has not forgotten how former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti succeeded in prevailing upon the Centre for announcing Ramzan ceasefire in 2018, which facilitated regrouping of terrorists rather than influencing change of heart. Kashmir is a unique strife zone across the world where the beneficiaries of unrest-known as mainstream in common parlance-become facilitators for bailing out perpetrators of terror and secession from hot pursuit. No sooner, the security forces and central agencies attain upper edge over terrorists and separatists, the mainstream politicians, who rule the State in turns, come out with unique ideas of dialogue, package, amnesty, rehabilitation and what not. Mostly they succeed in prevailing upon the rulers in New Delhi by raising hopes in getting the peace breakers for dialogue. This is the time when terrorists, stone pelters and separatists lie low as part of strategy. Once the heat cools down they revert back to Jihad and secession again. Will the Centre fall in the trap laid by the Mirwaiz by offering dialogue?
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