Striving to restart the dialogue process between J&K and New Delhi, former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha recently led a group of concerned citizens to Kashmir and managed to break the ice with Hurriyat leaders. In an interaction with Hakeem Irfan at his Noida residence, Sinha talked about the initiative, expectations and concerns. Excerpts:
In October 2016, few journalists and civil society members from Valley met me in Delhi. Everybody spoke about grim situation prevailing in Kashmir. Many people had suggested a group visit there with me. So, that was the beginning. I agreed to join the group, senior journalist Bharat Bhushan also agreed to join. The first meeting was the initiative of Center for Dialogue and Reconciliation and then it became a group of concerned citizens. After our first visit we submitted a report to Government of India and shared it with everybody who was interested. We met the President and Vice-president and some parliamentarians including Sitaram Yechuri and D Raja, who had gone to Kashmir. We are trying to sensitise public opinion here. It is a very tricky situation and any slight variation in the way I am putting it will either lead to enormous misunderstanding in J&K or enormous misunderstanding in Delhi. I don’t mind in stating the problem as I have seen it.