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
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.