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Need a political outreach
Posted:Sep 11, 2017
 
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Home Minister Rajnath Singh is in J&K and he is holding meetings  with various delegations to  get a sense of the prevailing troubled situation in the state and seek suggestions about improving it. Singh also held meetings with the Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the top civil and security officials. 
 
The four day visit is one of the longest by a union Home Minister to the state and thus assumes huge significance. Singh has acquired the reputation of being one of the most moderate faces of the current dispensation in New Delhi. His approach to the state has been measured and mindful of the complexities of the situation.  
 
Tweeting before leaving for the state on Saturday, the home minister said he was visiting the state with “an open mind” and “willing to meet anyone who will help us in finding solutions to problems facing J&K”. In recent months, the home minister has talked of  “a permanent solution” to Kashmir issue without revealing its contours. 
 
At the same time, the centre’s approach towards the prevailing situation has made people little wiser about the outline of this solution. On the contrary, the past three years have seen the centre relying on the use of excessive force to address the situation in the state. But this has hardly made any redeeming difference.  If the goal is truly a solution, this calls for a fundamental shift in the strategy and the practices adopted so far. The immediate priority, in any case, should be to draw separatists into a dialogue which they believe in. A dialogue that creates a sense of incremental progress towards some goal. 
 
As things stands, this certainly is not even remotely the case.  New Delhi, it appears, continues to be in the management mode and exclusively focussed on a security-centric approach. There is an urgent need to supplant it with a political outreach to the dissident groups challenging status quo, which alone will address the issues and concerns underpinning the lingering turmoil in the state. It is also critically important that the Home Minister puts to rest the fears generated  by an apprehended repeal of the Article 35A which enables state government to define the permanent residents of the state. Here is hoping that Singh’s visit delivers this outcome.
 
 
 
 
 
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