Taking a dig at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, former Union Minister Arun Shourie has said that it was a “one-trick horse” with no policy either on Kashmir or Pakistan.
“There is no government and no policy regarding Kashmir or Pakistan or even the banks … What we have is a one-trick horse that only knows how to divide the Hindus and Muslims of this country,” he said at the launch of the book “Kashmir: Glimpses of History…” penned by senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz.
Terming the Modi government as “event-oriented and election-oriented”, Shourie said that the focus was on organising events and winning elections with little heed to policy or governance.
He also took a dig at the much publicised surgical strike against Pakistan and termed it as “farzical” (fake) strike.
Commenting on the Kashmir unrest, the former Union Minister said the situation has been hurting the whole country and not just the Kashmiris and people should realise that fact.
On the Centre’s newly-declared “all out action” stance on Kashmir, Shourie said that what he understood of it was there would be “more aggressive target killings of individuals” but stressed that it would not be wise to use “foolish force” against the people.
He said there was no alternative to the talks and with “everyone” in the Valley including the Hurriyat.
“If you say Hurriyat is being controlled by Pakistan, I think that is precisely the reason we must talk to them. We have to wean away the Hurriyat from Pakistan and talks are the only way to do it. So keep talking and keep talking to everyone,” Shourie said.
He said that the security agencies need to identify the emerging leadership in Hurriyat and engage them.
Contending that the real problem with Kashmir and the northeast has been in the way the Centre has dealt with these states, he said: “You engage a sub-contractor and tell them, ‘I give you money and keep running the semblance of the government there’. But the money is not reaching the common man on the ground. They are not getting the basic facilities of roads, water, hospitals, schools. Where is the money going? It means the officials and the politicians in these troubled states are cornering it.”
On the issue of Kashmiris demanding “greater autonomy”, Shourie demanded to know as to what they meant by the term.
“What is autonomy? Be specific. In the light of example given above of the money not reaching the common people, I think you need greater supervision, not less of it (in the name of autonomy),” he said.
Shourie said that a lynching of a Muslim in the Indian mainland in the name of the cow was a “thunderclap” in Kashmir that has the effect of alienating the Kashmiris by forcing them to think of themselves as Muslims being persecuted by the Hindus.
“You are pushing the Kashmiris to think themselves as just Musalmans, that too, of the Wahhabi kind, which they certainly are not. The Kashmiris celebrate their syncretic culture,” he said.
Shourie also observed that falling on history would make the forward movement difficult on the issue.
Earlier, clarifying on his controversial “Independence” made recently remarks, Soz said that things were being wrongly attributed to him and that he knows for a fact that “azadi” was not an option.
“Let’s leave the extremes and come to the middle,” Soz said vis-a-vis the solution to the Kashmir issue, adding that “small minds” in the governments and the security apparatus have not let the Indian establishment embrace the Kashmiris or trust them.
“I have narrated facts. I did some research for this and I am confident that this is a well-researched book,” Soz said.
He also stressed that the views in the book was his own and not that of the Congress.