MUZAMIL JALEEL: Since 2016, if you took over as chief minister, many individuals have been killed in motion by safety forces in Kashmir. Now that you’re not in energy, how do you assess the state of affairs in the state?
The state of affairs is sort of grave, individuals are getting killed each day. One in every of the causes for aligning with the BJP was to deal with the state of affairs and provide you with some type of answer to the drawback, to cease the demise and destruction. Principally, all governments in Delhi up to now have tried to battle violence with violence. However, sadly, when a boy picks up a stone, and is able to face the gun, we fail to know what has led him to try this. What’s it that fascinates a younger boy, a 10-year-old, to hitch militancy? He will get killed by the time he’s 14… Sadly, no one in Delhi, apart from (former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayeeji, has tried to deal with this with confidence-building measures.
We took the uncommon determination of aligning with the BJP in the hope that we will handle the drawback. However, sadly, it didn’t occur that means and issues went from dangerous to worse, and I ought to settle for it. Individuals had actually excessive hopes from the PDP. They thought Mufti saab (late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, former CM) will be capable of repeat what he had achieved from 2002 to 2005. Mufti saab tried to influence (Prime Minister) Modiji to take a look at Kashmir via the prism of humanity, as Vajpayee did… to succeed in out not solely to Kashmiris, but in addition to Pakistan. Once we say separatists and Pakistan are part of the drawback, we’ve got to work out methods to interact with them, in order that additionally they grow to be part of the answer. That’s the reason we joined arms with the BJP, however what we had meant didn’t occur. That led to extra disillusionment amongst the youth, extra anger and violence…
MUZAMIL JALEEL: You will have referred to your alliance with the BJP as “suicidal”. Are you able to elaborate?
We aligned with the BJP figuring out that it’ll destroy our credibility, that it’s going to have an effect on our get together, that we might simply go down the drain in the subsequent election… In truth, the PDP was shaped with the intention to facilitate the decision of the Kashmir concern, and that’s what Mufti saab did as chief minister in his first time period. In his second time period, he needed to repeat the similar issues, understanding that going with the BJP will probably be suicidal. Nevertheless, he aligned with the BJP and had an Agenda of Alliance with a roadmap for confidence-building measures.
MUZAMIL JALEEL: Just lately, once you tried to type a authorities in J&Okay with the Nationwide Convention and Congress, you have been accused of taking directions from Pakistan.
It’s not new. In the event you see tv debates, that’s how most channels challenge issues. That is one thing my father needed to vary — that it’s solely separatists who can speak about the Kashmir concern and mainstream events ought to solely speak about bijli, paani, sadak (electrical energy, street and water). In Kashmir, it’s not like that. My father tried to mainstream the Kashmir situation. He put it on the desk in a approach that you can consider a decision of the Kashmir drawback with out secession. So we speak about open borders, we speak about having some type of joint advisory council, we speak about pre-1947 routes… However everytime you speak about decision of Kashmir’s issues, engagement with Pakistan, you’re dubbed as ISI or Pakistani and issues like that.
Once we tried to get collectively (with the NC and Congress), our intention was to safeguard Article 35A (offering particular rights and privileges to everlasting J&Okay residents), which isn’t being protected in the approach it was once I was in energy. Additionally, lots of the orders which were handed in the final five-six months by the governor’s workplace are kind of anti- Article 370 (granting autonomous standing to J&Okay)… We needed to take issues in our personal palms. Members of the Congress, NC and PDP have been additionally being poached. They have been being lured with cash and guarantees of ministerial berths. I’m not speaking about Delhi however the native management in J&Okay. They have been threatening our individuals, our MLAs, via the Nationwide Investigation Company and different issues. All this introduced us collectively.
P VAIDYANATHAN IYER: One isn’t sure about when elections will happen in J&Okay. Do you assume there’s a risk of this three-party alliance contesting collectively?
At this level in time, whether or not mainstream events get collectively or not, just isn’t the precedence. What individuals are actually involved about now’s the right way to cease the massacre. Mainstream events are, sadly, at this level in time, turning into irrelevant. Getting along with the different events, not for election’s sake, however to cease this bloodshed, that may’t be dominated out.
VANDITA MISHRA: Once you speak of getting along with the BJP, you typically point out Vajpayee, and the time your father spent with him. Nevertheless, Narendra Modi has all the time been seen as the reverse of
Vajpayee. What led the PDP to consider that Modi would do the similar for Kashmir as Vajpayee did?
We took him (PM Modi) at his phrase. Each time he would speak about Kashmir, he would guarantee us that he’ll resolve the Kashmir concern, stroll in the footsteps of Vajpayeeji — Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat. However, sadly, the Prime Minister couldn’t rise to the event. He was not capable of ship the message which my father anticipated. Kashmir has been an enormous problem for each prime minister, however Modiji received such an enormous mandate after such a very long time. And Mufti saab was there on the different aspect, he joined arms with him, for the decision of the Kashmir difficulty. It was a golden opportunity which he sadly lost. He couldn’t look past profitable elections.
SANDEEP SINGH: How do you see Pakistan’s position in the state of affairs in Kashmir? There are terrorist encounters, there’s infiltration…
You possibly can’t deny Pakistan’s position, and that there’s infiltration. However in Kashmir, if a militant is killed or a 14-year-old baby is killed, he belongs to us. So it’s the obligation of our nation’s management to succeed in out to Pakistan and be sure that this bloodshed is stopped. It’s not individuals in Pakistan who’re getting killed — it’s our safety forces, our policemen, our youngsters. We have now to discover a higher concept to switch the concept which fascinates these younger boys, that encourages them to battle the Military, the safety forces, with stones, and at at occasions even with out stones in their palms. There have been these encounters the place militants have been killed, however the concept nonetheless exists. I’ve seen many moms who now don’t cry when their youngsters are killed, they rejoice it. They don’t seem to be celebrating the dying of their sons, they’re celebrating the concept behind it. That may be a very harmful factor.
They hold saying that Imran (Pakistan PM Imran Khan) is a proxy for the Pakistan military. In the event that they assume so, then it’s higher that they speak to him, as a result of then the military and Imran Khan can be on the similar web page. That is an opportunity for our nation to succeed in out to them.
AMRITH LAL: The Kashmir story up to now has been informed by mainstream political events. It’s the similar story, whether or not it’s the BJP or the Congress. Have you ever ever considered telling the Kashmir story to the non-political sections of India?
I feel I ought to do this as a result of there’s a want to inform the nation what is occurring. The discourse on tv shouldn’t be serving to. It’s additional alienating Kashmir from the nation and the remainder of the nation from Kashmir. We have to change the discourse, and for that I’ll need to go to extra locations and speak to individuals about it.
MUZAMIL JALEEL: The criticism in Kashmir is that when mainstream political leaders come to energy, they preside over the killings and that when they’re out of energy, they begin saying that is incorrect. That is occurring in your personal constituency in south Kashmir. Many individuals have been killed underneath your watch, hundreds have been injured.
The PDP was shaped to discover a answer to the drawback in the state, and that’s the reason we even joined arms with the BJP. In case you undergo our Agenda of Alliance, you can find a roadmap just like the four-point components of Basic Pervez Musharraf and Vajpayee — open all the routes, join Kashmir to central Asia, to Pakistan, have some sort of joint advisory council from each Kashmirs with out altering the borders, with out conceding any territory to the different aspect. These are the confidence-building measures we had put in the Agenda of Alliance. However, sadly, the BJP didn’t reside as much as the expectations.
Additionally learn: Opposition events be a part of palms at Mamata rally, vow to oust Narendra Modi
MUZAMIL JALEEL: Is it attainable so that you can go to Pulwama at this time? What would you inform the individuals there?
I can inform them that no matter we did, was carried out in good religion, to assist the state of affairs however, sadly, issues didn’t go the approach they have been meant to go. That’s one thing we should clarify to the individuals. Additionally, many deaths befell throughout my tenure. How and what occurred doesn’t matter; individuals died. I’ll all the time carry that burden with me, I’ll all the time look again with grief. I can’t say that I might have prevented it as a result of the state of affairs was so risky… When Burhan Wani was killed (July eight, 2016), so many individuals got here out on the streets, they attacked Military camps, police stations, understanding that there’s going to be retaliation. It isn’t about Burhan Wani or a militant, it’s the concept behind Burhan Wani that we have to handle, and solely that may assist us.
AAKASH JOSHI: You stated final yr that the Centre is utilizing the Nationwide Investigation Company (NIA) to coerce and threaten PDP legislators to go away your celebration. Are you able to elaborate?
Using the NIA just isn’t actually serving to. It’s additional alienating the individuals. I do know I will probably be branded anti-national for saying this, however Syed Salahuddin’s sons will not be militants or stone-pelters, they’re simply widespread residents who have been left by their father 30 years in the past. They have been very younger at the time and their mom introduced them up with nice problem. (Final yr, the NIA arrested Hizbul Mujahideen chief Salahuddin’s son Shakeel Yousuf, who labored as a laboratory assistant at a authorities hospital, in a terror funding case. His brother Shahid, who was working in the J&Okay Agricultural Division, was additionally arrested in the similar case). Equally, Afzal Guru’s hanging additionally alienated Kashmiris. He was hanged with out even being allowed to satisfy his household, his physique was not returned.
ABANTIKA GHOSH: Are you open to an alliance with the BJP in the future?
I don’t assume so. My father had the stamina and additionally the coronary heart to take such an enormous danger. I don’t assume I can.
ANANTHAKRISHNAN G: On Article 35A in the Supreme Courtroom, nothing has occurred in the final 4 years since the Modi authorities got here to energy. Each of you have got had a superb rapport in courtroom…
No, principally, when 35A was in the courts, I met the Prime Minister and the residence minister as a result of we had apprehensions about the Central authorities’s lawyer common giving some type of twist to the case. I informed them very clearly that you simply can’t fiddle with Article 35A as you’ve gotten dedicated your self to it in the Agenda of Alliance. I used to be given an assurance that nothing might be accomplished to it. After the governor’s rule got here into drive, the case was adjourned citing panchayat elections. This made Kashmiris very apprehensive about the future — are they going to amend Article 35A, or will they dilute it? These apprehensions are nonetheless there. You need to perceive that Kashmiris have been preventing for the previous 70 years to get one thing extra. My father would all the time say that we now have our personal Structure, our personal flag, residuary powers, and that we should always attempt and shield what we’ve earlier than individuals begin preventing for one thing extra. So what we’ve, the garments we put on, in case you attempt to even take that off, how will it work?
ANANTHAKRISHNAN G: There’s an argument that behind this veneer of Kashmiriyat, is definitely a spiritual drawback — of a spiritual id — and that’s the reason the Pandits have been pressured to go away Kashmir.
Firstly, if that was the case, Kashmiris wouldn’t have rejected the two-nation concept and aligned with secular India. They might have gone to Pakistan. Then, as a Muslim-majority celebration, we aligned with the BJP.
So far as the Pandits are involved, I might say it’s a golden opportunity for our Prime Minister to take up the difficulty of visits to the Sharada Peeth (temple in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) with the PM of Pakistan. That may permit them (Pandits) to go to Kashmir and then go to Sharada Peeth. It is going to be a place to begin. For me, it is going to be the largest confidence constructing measure for Kashmiris to start out returning to Kashmir.
MUZAMIL JALEEL: You might have additionally spoken about the return of the pro-government militia Ikhwan in the Valley. Have been you speaking about politics or in phrases of the army?
Each. There are specific turncoats, I don’t need to identify them, who’re making an attempt to inform Delhi that permit us represent Ikhwan and use them each politically, and on the floor, to deal with the state of affairs (in Kashmir). There have been three deaths throughout the final 5 months which aren’t accounted for. Who killed them? This used to occur earlier… unidentified gunmen would come and kill. Perhaps they have been overground staff, and perhaps, politically, they belonged to the different aspect. So this political Ikhwan, in addition to the safety Ikhwan, is being suggested by some individuals in Kashmir…
MUZAMIL JALEEL: Do you assume Meeting elections in the state can be held quickly?
I can’t say… Ideally it might be good to have it together with the common elections. We have to have a authorities in place to cease these backdoor orders.
LALMANI VERMA: In the curiosity of Kashmir, whose authorities would you like at the Centre — that of the BJP, Congress or a 3rd entrance?
The UPA authorities was in energy for 10 years, however they didn’t take up from the place Vajpayee left. Then we aligned with the Modi authorities, however he too lost the opportunity. So, at this level in time, I’m not actually hopeful. If Modi couldn’t do something with such an enormous mandate… the Congress is all the time on the backfoot, it’s placed on the backfoot by the BJP… When the BJP accuses them of sharing biryani, they begin clarifying that no we didn’t do it. It was solely Vajpayee who might do what he needed, with out wanting over his shoulder.
P VAIDYANATHAN IYER: What has been your strategy in the direction of the Centre, the ruling social gathering, because you parted methods with the BJP? Has there been any dialogue since?
There was no dialogue, there aren’t many channels for it. The Central authorities is essential so far as the decision of the Kashmir drawback is worried, whosoever is in energy. Nevertheless, at this level in time, my focus is Kashmir, the individuals of Kashmir, as an alternative of Delhi.
ABANTIKA GHOSH: There was a variety of speak just lately about Rahul Gandhi being projected as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. What are you views on that?
I feel, with time, Rahul Gandhi has began doing his job. Something is feasible in our democratic nation. If Modiji can grow to be the prime minister — he comes from a really humble background — anyone can. H D
Deve Gowda saab turned PM, so many different individuals did, so why can’t Rahul Gandhi grow to be PM?
AAKASH JOSHI: The Military chief has been very vocal about political points. How do you see that?
I don’t assume it’s a good signal for the nation. The Indian Military is considered one of the most disciplined armies. In contrast to Pakistan, the Indian Military has by no means interfered in politics. Sadly, in the previous few years, we have now seen them play to the gallery, earlier than and typically after retirement, for a profession in politics. It isn’t good for the nation.