Saifuddin Soz

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister, Prof Saif-ud-din Soz on Wednesday pitched for initiation of the dialogue process, saying that the central government has gone very wrong in not choosing the way for reaching the minds of the people of Kashmir, particularly, the youth who carry unrest in their minds.

“It will be quite wrong for the system not to reach their minds,” Soz said while addressing a presser.

“The anger in their heart and mind has to be understood. It will be futile for the system to take the position that there was no need for any discussion and dialogue with the people who adopt the course of violence,” Soz said in a statement, adding “I have satisfied myself that if the system of governance wants to work for the durable peace, it has to understand the cause of unrest in the minds of Kashmiris. No amount of repression through a barrel of the gun can yield peace on the ground.”

“This feeling in me got buttressed enormously in recent times through my exchange of ideas with many knowledgeable people. I had a very interesting discussion with Johan Galtung, a Spanish intellectual with enormous knowledge of possible solutions to the conflicts that have afflicted many parts of the world. This exchange was through Skype and emails,” he said.

“Please imagine, why I am telling you this sorrowful tale. It is because I have a strong feeling that Govt. of India had a better course available that would yield positive results i.e. talking to the angry people of Kashmir. Perhaps, the JRL (Joint Resistance Leadership) could talk better, if the talks had opened!,” he said

“One is the urgent need of responding to the RSS’s avowed designs to create a situation of building a Hindu Rastra. The RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s ‘Yakut Bharat’ points to the same situation. This posture of the RSS is extremely relevant to Kashmir,” he said, adding that the mainstream parties should also take full notice of the fact that even the subtle (superficial) situation of distance in approach to political and social issues between the RSS and the BJP has evaporated in recent years and the Indian society has fallen to very bad times, particularly Muslims and other minorities!

“In my opinion, the Kashmir mainstream parties should come full circle on the overtures of the RSS. This has become a crucial imperative for Kashmir as it (Kashmir) is pointedly on its RADAR!,” he said, adding that the second matter relates to the RSS’s open threat to seek revocation of Article 35-A.

Article-35A that provides various privileges to the people of J&K State is being contested by the RSS which is seeking abrogation of this Article through a petition before the Supreme Court of India, he said, adding “You have shown tremendous solidarity for this cause (protection of Article-35A). You rose to the occasion, in every nook and corner of Kashmir. Greetings for that solidarity! Please sustain that interest and enthusiasm. But, then, I would like you to take a little more notice of the RSS.”

“You are conscious of the fact that the RSS has always been consistent on two things. One is its clear angle on Muslims and other minorities; the second is its perception that Kashmir is an integral part of India and it needs no special privileges!,” he said

“To dwell on this subject a little more, I would invite your attention to what Walter Anderson and Shridhar Damle, who are quite conversant with the working of the RSS, have emphasized in their recent book ‘The RSS – A View To The Inside’. They have recorded great praise for the RSS on its phenomenal growth since the 1980s and they have also stressed that the RSS is unparalleled as an organization with an almost Pan-India influence and operational footprint. They have, however, found through their credible research that Kashmir Valley is the only place where it has no functional Shakhas or branches,” Soz said, adding that “it is a silver lining for you in your struggle against all shades of parochialism, sectarianism, and bigotry.”

“I have a strong feeling that you can rise to the occasion and win the battle!” he said

Meanwhile, I have a piece of advice. Emotions are alright as emotions always carry a meaning. That trait in your character you have shown sufficiently in recent times, he said.

“I feel convinced that your emotions and commitment will certainly matter to the system. But, then, you have to fight the case also through your argument in the Supreme Court of India. Let the Kashmir’s Civil Society also engage a competent and an honest advocate for itself. Please complete that legal exercise, at the earliest!,” senior Congress leader said.

“The third grave problem that should engage the attention of the Mainstream parties happens to be the AFSPA. It (Mainstream) has to be decisively alert and active on seeking immediate abrogation of AFSPA which has brought death and destruction to Kashmir and deepened the alienation of Kashmiris, especially, the youth!,” he added.

“Finally, a word for PM Modi. He should see a writing on the wall and realize that he has to act, at the earliest i.e. before the ground situation compels the Kashmir Mainstream to look beyond the boundaries!. If he appreciates the right advice, he must, among other things, involve the Mainstream to open his (PM Modi’s) dialogue and discussion with the angry people of Kashmir,” he added.