“Separatism In Kashmir Is Dead, Need To Start…”: Former Spymaster AS Dulat


'Separatism In Kashmir Is Dead, Need To Start...': Former Spymaster AS Dulat

Mr Dulat said India should respond positively to Pakistan’s overtures.


Former spymaster AS Dulat has said the separatism in Kashmir was “dead” but felt there was a need to start a dialogue with mainstream political parties in the Valley.

Mr Dulat, who was advisor on Jammu and Kashmir to the central government during the tenure of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, also advocated the need for starting a dialogue with Pakistan.

“Separatism I believe is dead now. It has become redundant. Like Article 370, separatism also is gone,” Mr Dulat told PTI in an interview here on Saturday.

He said Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who has been under house arrest since August 4, 2019, has a role in Kashmir politics.

“There is a leader who I feel has a role and that is Mirwaiz, but he has been kept in his house. So, we will only know when he comes out. He has been mainstream and whenever he is allowed to come out, and I think it should be done as quickly as possible, then we will see which way he goes,” the former special director of Intelligence Bureau added.

Asked if the Kashmir issue has been resolved with the abrogation of Article 370, the former spy said, “There was never a big issue and there will always be an issue. The sooner we have an elected government, the better, because it provides a buffer for Delhi.” 

“Dialogue, talking, is the way out. If not to the separatists, talk to the mainstream, have elections and restore the statehood,” he added.

To a question if the situation in Pakistan had any effect in Kashmir, Mr Dulat replied in negative, but said “radicalisation” among the youth was a worrying factor.

“I don’t think there is any impact here. Pakistan is in such a mess that even those who were once pro-Pakistan are now saying what is there in Pakistan? I don’t think Pakistan is a factor. What worries me is that radicalism seems to be growing. That’s not a good thing because Kashmir always has been open, liberal, Sufi, Shaivite. So that should be a matter of concern,” he said.

AS Dulat said terrorism has not gone away from Jammu and Kashmir as sporadically incidents take place.

“There were a couple of bad incidents in Poonch-Rajouri. We need to take note of that. Then there are always boys in the south, our own boys, they get involved from time to time.”

“I want to tell you something…A Kashmiri craves for peace. He has had enough of this. It was an experiment that Kashmir had to go through, and it is an experiment which has failed. I think nobody wants this should continue,” he said.

Mr Dulat said the Congress-led UPA in 2005 made a blunder by not allowing PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to continue as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In 2002, Mufti sahib became the CM. I think his three years were very good. I used to think that the Congress committed a blunder by removing Mufti Sahib. So, these things happen, this is politics. It is for the party in power to decide,” he added.

Asked if there were any behind the scene talks going on in Kashmir, Mr Dulat said, “I don’t know, and I should not know as I have been out of government for a long time.” “Each government handles it in its own way. For instance, I worked with PM Vajpayee for five-and-a-half-years and people in Kashmir still remember Mr Vajpayee. After him, Dr Manmohan Singh tried his best, and you would recall when Modiji came to power in 2014, the first person to welcome him was Mirwaiz. I am sure Modiji is doing it in his own way. Everyone has his own way of dealing with it,” he added.

Mr Dulat said India should respond positively to Pakistan’s overtures, as Islamabad is looking for a way to improve relations with New Delhi.

He said the Pakistan cricket team visiting India for cricket world cup was a good development.

“It is good (Indo-Pak cricket). They should come. There is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit and the Pakistan PM should come, I think he will come. Pakistan is looking for a way of moving forward with India, and I think we should provide that way. I am sure Modiji is conscious about that, he is a big leader now. He is going to America, let’s see,” Mr Dulat said.

He said New Delhi should hold talks with Pakistan as terrorism directed towards India was emanating from the neighbouring country.

“Pakistan involvement is in terrorism. Yesterday, I was reading that five foreign terrorists were killed somewhere near Kupwara. I have always believed the worst and most serious attacks always come in from the north because that’s where the foreign terrorists are. That’s been an old route, that’s where they come from and that’s where they operate. That’s a scary thing and that’s one of the reasons that we should talk to Pakistan,” he said.

Asked about the involvement of an Afghan war veteran in Friday’s infiltration bid in Kupwara, the former spymaster dismissed the possibility of the Taliban involvement in the insurgency in Kashmir.

“I think Taliban will not involve itself in Kashmir as it wants recognition by India. I don’t buy this at all. There is no threat from Taliban. The threat comes from Pakistan,” he added.

Asked if the drone deal with the US has a Kashmir connection, Mr Dulat said, “I don’t think Americans are going to talk Kashmir to Modiji. It will not affect Kashmir, there is no war against Kashmir. This is India.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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