Aiyar`s formula: Reach out to Kashmiris emotionally

With the CCS set to discuss a Eid package tomorrow to end the impasse in Kashmir, Mani Shankar Aiyar today said the immediate need was not a "political solution", but the leadership should reach out to Kashmiris emotionally.

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 22:37 PM IST

New Delhi: With the CCS set to discuss a Eid
package tomorrow to end the impasse in Kashmir, Congress
leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today said the immediate need was
not a "political solution", but the leadership should reach
out to Kashmiris emotionally.

Aiyar, who was asked to comment on the government`s move
to offer a political package and discussions about measures
like partial withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces Special
Power Act, however, said the withdrawal of the Act will
"certainly be a confidence building measure".

He said efforts should be made to reassure the Kashmiris
that the "whole of India is with them and everyone considers
them as Indians" like any other citizens of the country.

"Instead of trying to find a political situation in such
an atmosphere, I think our leadership including MPs should be
reaching out to the people and saying that the death of your
child is the death of my child. And I feel as deeply for you
as I would have felt if my child had gone," he told reporters
on the sidelines of a function.

He said the "human empathy" of feeling sad when someone
dies has been "missing" ever since the death of a 17-year-old
boy in Kashmir on June 11.

"The crux of the issue is local police most of whom are
Kashmiris and therefore Muslims are the ones who are opening
fire on fellow Muslim Kashmiris and therefore the key is to
get the state government to provide the kind of training and
attention to their police forces to use non-lethal weapons to
control the crowds," he said.

He said the Valley has been "perfectly tranquil" for the
past some years, but "we have not initiated a process of
uninterrupted and interruptible dialogue" with the entire
spectrum of Kashmiri opinion.

"What is the point of talking to the huge number of
Kashmiris who actually want to be remain in India? They are
not the problem. The problem is precisely those who say they
are separatists and those who want to join Pakistan. And if we
were to say we won`t talk to you, then whom are we going to
talk?" he asked.

PTI