ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Schizophrenic Interlocution on Jammu & Kashmir

Although there was scepticism in Kashmir about the report of the group of interlocutors constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, there was hope that the recommendations by a group that collectively had experience in confl ict analysis, the media and the civil service would point to some light at the end of the tunnel of the Jammu & Kashmir conundrum. However their "New Compact" offers a muddled conceptualisation of conventional wisdoms that have been doing the rounds (without traction) for the last decade. Many have ignored the report and several have cynically trashed it. The article seeks to analyse its language so that the stakeholders in Jammu & Kashmir can avoid the pitfalls in the report.

The offer of a “New Compact” by the group of interlocutors – the acronym for which might be, ironically, GoI, as used for the “Government of India” – has been summarily discarded both within and outside ­Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), and not without sharp ridicule by many commentators and observers of the conundrum that is J&K. The report seemed to fulfil the predictions of many, so my initial reaction was similar: consign it “to the dustbin of ­history”, as an acerbic comment from Kashmir put it. But as I read and reread the interlocutors’ document, I realise that the entire GoI exercise (ambiguity intended!) is indicative of the cavalier, patronising and head-in-the-sand app­roach to the dispute that has been ­adopted by various factions of the ­government in New Delhi. It makes one angry; again.

To understand the frustration of the peoples of the state you have to read between the lines. The report is symptomatic of the denial of reality that is the accepted norm on Kashmir. This, accompanied by the accumulating attempts at sleights of hand, are not lost on the peoples of the state and the sooner New Delhi recognises this, the better for all those who are, and presume to be, stakeholders in the riddle that is J&K.

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