The statement of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the Center was ready to talk to every stakeholder, including Hurriyat Conference, “if the separatists come forward for talks”, is a welcome step. However, there is need on part of the Center to specify the contours of the dialogue so that it doesn’t prove to be one more addition of previous such exercises.There is a perception that chain of broken promises, repeated interruptions and palpable lack of honesty in the past was the reason for the failure of earlier such initiatives. The latest offer by the Center has come after the hardline policy of New Delhi failed to achieve desired results. Our consistent policy has been always that dialogue is the only way forward.Now with Center creating a window of opportunity by announcing that it was ready to hold dialogue with all shades of opinions, it should not once again be vague and hazy. The Center should be specified in the dialogue offer and its contours should be well defined.The dialogue should be structured, sustained and sincere. It should go beyond the “beaten track” and should not focus on the issue through security prism only, which has been the focus of the policy so far. The government should take stock of the initiatives taken till now, including the reports of various committees and interlocutors.
Needless, to say that these reports and recommendations are gathering dust in the Home Ministry.The Centre must review actions by security forces that stifle ordinary life, such as cordon-and-search operations, restrictions on movement of people in villages, and suspension of Internet services. The Center government should get its message out on its vision for a longer-term resolution to reverse alienation amid a polarised debate in sections of the media on the value of the ceasefire, which adds to the sense of anxiety in Kashmir.The government should release all the political prisoners without any further delay and shift those to Valley jails who are detained outside the state and have cases pending against them to create conducive atmosphere for talks. Since almost everybody agrees that meaningful dialogue is the only way to come out of the labyrinth of uncertainty and violence, it has to be authentic and the offer must come from the core of heart. It should not be mere a politic management.The Ramadahan ceasefire which has brought respite to the common Kashmiri should not only continue but should lead to the silencing of all the guns including those on the international border and the line of control. (PTK)