Govt moves on Kash­mir, agrees to all-party meet I was open to ex­ten­sion as RBI gover­nor, says Ra­jan

UN­REST Ra­j­nath says may send all-party del­e­ga­tion to Val­ley af­ter chat with CM

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents letters@hin­dus­tan­ Press Trust of In­dia ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­

The Cen­tre agreed to an all-party meet­ing on Fri­day to dis­cuss how to end weeks of vi­o­lent un­rest in Kash­mir, as pres­sure mounted on the gov­ern­ment to open a broad di­a­logue to re­solve the cri­sis trig­gered by the killing of a mil­i­tant leader.

Home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh said a de­ci­sion could also be taken to send an all-party del­e­ga­tion to Kash­mir af­ter dis­cus­sions with state chief min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti on the terms and modal­i­ties of en­gage­ment.

He said the gov­ern­ment will “talk to all, no doubt”, re­spond­ing to op­po­si­tion queries on whether “mod­er­ates, po­lit­i­cal par­ties and oth­ers” will be in­cluded in the di­a­logue. He, how­ever, ruled out dis­cussing Kash­mir with Pak­istan, which he blamed for the trou­ble in the re­gion.

At least 55 peo­ple have been killed — most of them in po­lice fir­ing — fol­low­ing street un­rest in Kash­mir to protest against the killing of Hizbul Mu­jahideen com­man­der Burhan Wani by se­cu­rity forces last month. The re­gion, where a sep­a­ratist cam­paign broke out in 1989, has been un­der cur­few for 33 days.

Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ments came a day af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­voked his pre­de­ces­sor Atal A pro­tester throws a plank of wood at po­lice per­son­nel dur­ing a protest in Sri­na­gar, Jammu and Kash­mir, on Wed­nes­day.

Bi­hari Va­j­payee’s mod­er­ate vi­sion to out­line his gov­ern­ment’s stand on deal­ing with the protests in Kash­mir. In 2003, Va­j­payee paved the way for the Cen­tre’s first-ever talks with Kash­miri sep­a­ratists and laid down three prin­ci­ples to tackle the re­gion’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis — In­saaniyat (hu­man­ism), Jamhooriyat (democ­racy) and Kash­miriyat (Kash­mir’s legacy of amity).

Po­lit­i­cal ex­perts see Modi’s out­reach in Kash­mir — af­ter a long si­lence — and the Cen­tre’s lat­est stand as a sign of ner­vous­ness in the gov­ern­ment that the re­gion might have reached a tip­ping point.

“Like Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee, he (Modi) should ad­mit that there is a prob­lem and ad­dress that,” Pro­fes­sor Gull Mo­ham­mad Wani of Kash­mir Univer­sity said. “Di­a­logue with sep­a­ratists will

def­i­nitely help. They have a sep­a­rate con­stituency and can in­flu­ence peo­ple. No­body can ig­nore that.”

The de­ci­sion to hold an all­party meet­ing is seen aimed at blunt­ing op­po­si­tion crit­i­cism in Ra­jya Sabha that Modi’s out­reach to Kash­mir was not gen­uine and that the gov­ern­ment was re­luc­tant to talk to all stake­hold­ers in the re­gion.

Terming po­lit­i­cal at­tacks on him as abom­inable, out­go­ing RBI Gover­nor Raghu­ram Ra­jan said on Wed­nes­day that he was open to stay­ing a bit longer to com­plete the un­fin­ished work of bank clean up, but is per­fectly happy to go.

Ra­jan, who had in June de­cided against seek­ing a sec­ond term once his 3-year ten­ure ends next month, said the process of di­a­logue with the gov­ern­ment did not reach a stage where he could have agreed to stay on.

He said he was how­ever never wor­ried about reap­point­ment or a fu­ture ca­reer in gov­ern­ment, and did the best in the in­ter­est of the coun­try, adding he was the “best team player”.

Ra­jan, who plans to re­turn to academia af­ter his term ends on Septem­ber 4, said his stays at univer­sity made him “pretty thick-skinned”, but the at­tacks then were not abom­inable.

“Some of th­ese [re­cent] at­tacks were abom­inable, that is im­put­ing sort of mo­tives, al­leg­ing things com­pletely with­out any ba­sis,” he told CNBC-TV18, adding that he put them aside and did not pay any at­ten­tion to them.


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