Once used by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and often being repeated by PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, these words mean different things to different leaders on the ground — from an ‘opportunity of talks with separatists’ to ‘a tough message to anti-nationals’.
Ghulam Ahmad Mir
President, J&K Pradesh Congress
To the Congress leader, these are big words with a deep meaning. “If we went by these words in the true sense, then political dialogue would be possible even with separatists and the Hurriyat,” Mir said. “These words belong to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee but unfortunately they [BJP] never followed those. If these words were implemented properly, we would have never faced such a crisis.”
The former minister took up the three words one by one. “If you can’t resolve problems through jamhooriyat [democracy] then even bigger and more complicated issues can be resolved within the ambit of insaaniyat [humanity] as humanity throws open all closed barriers… talks could be held with separatists without conditions. To tackle local issues, Kashmiryat would be helpful.”
Mir reminded coalition partners BJP and PDP that these words were in their “agenda of alliance”. “Unfortunately they haven’t even followed what is mentioned in the agenda of alliance, which is considered a scared document by alliance partners. Hopefully they will now take it seriously,” Mir said. “The time has come for concrete steps to be taken.”
Ali Mohammad Sagar
MLA & general secretary, NC
The former National Congress minister agreed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words had an initial impact but doubted whether the idea would be sincerely implemented to resolve issues. “Words like insaniyaat could open up vast channels of communication,” said Sagar, the NC MLA from Khanyar in Old Srinagar City. “They can even hold talks with anyone, including the Hurriyat leadership, to resolve the crisis.”
Sagar said under insaaniyat, every issue could get resolved. He said this is the time when the Centre could show “magnanimity”. “The present prime minister enjoys a two-thirds majority in Parliament and is in a position to take any strong decision,’’ said Sagar, part of a delegation that met the PM in Delhi recently. “He was very responsive and heard us patiently,’’ Sagar said, “but on the ground things have started going back to square one. We thought pellet guns would be stopped, now we hear once again these will not be banned. Though curfew has been lifted, mass arrests have started… We want a ban on pellet guns, a stop to civilian killings. When these happen, it will send a positive message.”
Youth president, PDP
To the PDP, the three words mean revival of the political process of 2002 initiated by the late Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s J&K government and the NDA at the Centre. “We are leaving no room for conditions,” Para said. “The intention is to achieve a meaningful political process for a lasting solution to the issue of Kashmir. We have been maintaining from day one that for the NDA in Delhi headed by PM Modi, it is the right time to explore options for resolving the issue.”
Para said that for his party, these three words could become three binding principles for initiating dialogue. “When we talk of insaaniyat, it means we can open channels of communication with anybody, including opponents. Under the ambit of humanity, it means the outreach could be as wide as possible,” said Para, who insisted the problem is not the creation of the NDA government.
“In 2002, we have had a very good legacy of NDA vis-à-vis Kashmir. Even today, a lot of people are convinced only the NDA is in a position to initiate a meaningful resolution process. When the PM says these words, it means we should see something concrete happening on the ground.”
General secretary, BJP
The BJP leader, who is optimistic that the Prime Minister’s message will have great impact on the ground, believes that in it lies a warning. “In the message of insaaniyat is hidden a tough message, that we have to save humanity from anti-national elements,” Narinder Singh said.
He added that the BJP-PDP state government needs to take tough measures on the ground. “The government is also dealing with the situation but there are people who want to do business… Some people with vested interests, who are supported by Pakistan and other elements, want chaos to prevail all around. They want to turn Kashmir into Syria, and that will not be allowed,” Singh said.
Singh said that in the words of Prime Minister Modi, there is also a strong message for people who are affected by the current situation — that they should stand up against such forces. “The people of Kashmir should not leave the ground open for such forces who don’t want to see development in the state. The people should come forward and play a role in saving the state from the anti-national forces,” Singh said.
Spokesperson, Hurriyat (M)
The separatist leader said, “First, Narendra Modi is not Atal Bihari Vajpayee and words like jamhooriyat, insaaniyat and Kashmiryat don’t suit him. These are borrowed words.”
Shahid-ul Islam attacked Modi’s government: “For the current happenings in Kashmir, both the state government and the Centre headed by Modi are responsible… Neither the separatist leadership nor the people of Kashmir trust him or the system of India. There is a complete trust deficit and the Government of India is itself responsible for that.”
Islam said that whenever there has been any uprising in the Valley, the central government has tried to control it through short-term measures and, once the situation has improved, it has forgetten about it. “They don’t look at Kashmir as a political issue but always consider it a problem of law and order. Once the situation improves, they forget the real issue,” he said.
Islam said the separatist leadership has lost faith in the Centre. “They have even betrayed the mainstream political leadership, let alone separatists.”