15 May, 2021

An Undercurrent Of Goodwill

Kashmiri separatists warm up to Team Sinha’s peace mission. New Delhi can capitalise on the ‘unofficial’ channel.

Let’s Talk
Sushobha Barve (left), Wajahat Habibullah, Yashwant Sinha meet Mirwaiz Farooq at the separatist leader’s Srinagar home on October 25
Photograph by Javed Ahmad
An Undercurrent Of Goodwill

Recently, Yashwant Sinha gently tided over a spot that would have been tricky for any senior BJP leader. That was when some elderly citizens complained to the former union minister that one of his responsible party colleagues was draining away a certain positivity in Sinha’s efforts to restore peace in Kashmir. The civil society group’s members were referring to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s snide remark that the Hurriyat Conference meant terrorists—not tourists—when the multi-­party conglomerate invited people to visit the Valley. Sinha gave out a laugh, and said, “I think you expect too much from somebody like Madhav to hear a different kind of statement.”

Sinha knows well the history of exercises that have preceded his teams and their attempts to establish normalcy in the border state upcountry. A bureaucrat-turned-politician who served as a key minister in three union governments, he is treading cautiously on the Kashmir mission. It is another matter his five-member team does not have an official standing. The rounds...

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