Senior government officials from across India who attended a security meet chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday suggested holding a dialogue with the separatists as well as Pakistan to ease tensions in the Kashmir Valley and along the border.
Mr. Singh sought the views of top intelligence and State government officials and the Army at the two-day National Security Strategies Conference, organised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in Delhi, and the majority of them were of the view that Hurriyat should be roped in for talks, a top government official said.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Director IB Rajiv Jain, J&K DGP S.P Vaid, CRPF DG R.R Bhatnagar participated in the discussion.
There was a broad consensus that India should make efforts to hold a dialogue with Pakistan to stop the current spell of cross-border firing in Jammu that has claimed eleven lives so far. “Except for one or two, most officials thought that the separatists should be brought to the table for a lasting solution in the Kashmir Valley. There was a panel discussion on the subject and Mr. Singh individually asked officials present to give their views. The Minister did not present his views, but took copious notes,” said an official who was present.
The issue of Rohingya settled in Jammu was also discussed. “One of the police officers mockingly asked why the Hurriyat wouldn’t host the Rohingya in the Kashmir Valley and feed them Ghostabas [a Kashmiri dish]. Mr. Singh rebuked the official, considering the sensitivity attached to the subject,” said another official.
On May 16, Mr. Singh had announced the suspension of offensive by security forces in the Kashmir Valley in the month of Ramzan. “Security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people,” he had said.
A key topic that was discussed was “communalism” in Jammu and Kashmir. “The Kathua rape was a case in point. The residents of Jammu are alienated and they need some reassurance and this has led to a deep divide between the Hindu dominated Jammu region and Muslim dominated Kashmir,” said an official.