‘We have practically lost Kashmir,’ says P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, January 06: Former Indian home minister P. Chidambaram while commenting on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government’s Kashmir policy has emphatically said that New Delhi has lost Kashmir.

The veteran Congress leader P. Chidambaram in a media interview in New Delhi said, “We have practically lost Kashmir,” adding that no democratic country can keep an entire population under siege.

Appearing on the National Security Conversations show hosted by Happymon Jacob, the senior Congress leader argued that by carrying out fundamental changes in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP government has committed ‘constitutional desecration’.

He also decried the manner in which the government of India treated the people of Kashmir: “No democratic country can keep an entire population under siege.” Chidambaram sharply criticised the BJP government’s Kashmir policy, saying that “it looks at the entire 7.5 million people in Kashmir as militants, as anti-nationals, as pro-Pakistanis”.

The government’s claims about the calm in the Kashmir Valley today, he stated, is nothing but a ‘deceptive calm’. All that the government has managed to do is to “put a lid on a volcano” by sending troops to Kashmir, Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram agreed that the UPA government should have implemented the various measures suggested by the interlocutors’ report on J&K, which would have improved the situation in the state. “My only regret is,” he said, “that we didn’t implement the interlocutors report” because “there was not enough political will within the government” to do so. The former minister also admitted that all governments have made mistakes in Kashmir including those led by the Congress party.

Chidambaram recommended that the first step to resolving the Kashmir issue is to engage the people there in a dialogue. He also advocated for an engagement in a bilateral dialogue with Pakistan.

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