Faced with an increasingly restive situation in the Kashmir Valley, the Centre has decided that its first priority and pre-condition will be to “restore the primacy of the State,” which has come under severe challenge over the last two months. For this purpose, the government is willing to hold parleys with relevant stakeholders but is still holding back its line on talks with separatists, a demand that has come from some political quarters. The Centre, as of now, wants some sense of normalcy to return as a sort of pre-requisite for more conversations.
It’s learnt that one of the suggestions, which came up in the all-party delegation’s conversations in Srinagar, was to get the all key mainstream parties – PDP, National Conference, BJP and the Congress – to draw up a common position in a bid to send a clear message to separatists and Islamic radicals. The idea is that at some point, people will then be able to make an informed choice.
The government believes that there is a clear distinction to be drawn between separatists and common civilians, who are also getting injured in the protests. The idea is to show compassion towards the latter and to that end, the government is gearing up to provide the best medical assistance where needed but will be firm on those directly challenging the authority of the state.
New Delhi is convinced that Pakistan is a “full 100%” behind the protests in the Valley. The tactics, as decoded here, is to first set up a frontline of civilians to pelt stones at security forces and then turn the wounded into victims of oppression. This pattern is being seen as an extension of what happened in 2010 but just more organised. What has also riled New Delhi is the active support of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for slain militant Burhan Wani. His description of Wani as a “martyr” is being seen as an affront to India’s peace gestures like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impromptu visit to Lahore. At one level, India is also surprised that someone like Sharif, who reached out to Modi just before entering surgery in London suddenly changed stance. To that extent, the government is quite convinced that the Pakistan establishment is currently fully aligned in instigating and prolonging the unrest in the Valley.