*NEW DELHI - AS Dulat, the former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing has made stunning claims about the likely fallout in Jammu and Kashmir and the political context of the BJP’s decision. *
*Dulat, who also served as a special director of the Intelligence Bureau, said that while he did not anticipate any upsurge in resistance on the ground, he did fear a rise in terror activity.*
*AS Dulat said* It’s a sad and unfortunate thing because I do not think it was necessary. I was told that even the home minister Amit Shah said in parliament that this erosion [of Article 370] was already taking place; we are only completing the process.
He is right there, that erosion was taking place. I have said it many times that 370 is nothing, it’s only a fig leaf. So, why do you want to remove that fig leaf? Why would you want to rub the Kashmiri nose further into the ground? Let it be, 370 is nothing.
Let me go back to 1947 and Kashmir’s accession to India. From the very beginning, the government of India’s policy and effort was to try and gradually mainstream Kashmir into the rest of the country.
And I think the government has succeeded to a very large extent. If you think back to 1947 and 1953, and even 1975, when Sheikh [Abdullah, the former president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference] had realised that you cannot fight Delhi and it’s best to make peace.
At the most, what the Kashmiris asked for was autonomy. The dialogue, the conversation was always about autonomy and the Kashmiri knew that he is not going to get that autonomy. What I am trying to say is that I think the Kashmiris had reconciled to the status quo. If that be so, that obviously implies that Delhi, at some stage, had not reconciled to the status quo and that is why we have now gone beyond the status quo.
Maybe this is the right thinking, time will tell. Like [the senior Congress leader] P Chidambaram said rightly, “The architects of what has happened today might one day regret what they have done, and I hope I am wrong.” I feel exactly the same way.
But my apprehension really is—as someone who has dealt [with] and seen Kashmir and the subject of security and terror—that it might escalate. Terror might escalate. I do not think it will happen immediately, but in the time to come. I think the intelligence agencies have a job on their hands now, to keep a track of what might happen.
There is another point I want to make, that one of the tragedies of Kashmir in recent years has been a total lack of leadership.
The leadership is either being selfish, or overestimated itself, or underestimated itself, but there is no leadership. In my book, there is only one leader in Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah [the National Conference’s chairperson and a former chief minister of the state].
He understands Kashmir; he understands Delhi; he understands Pakistan; and he understands international relations. Mufti [Mohammad Sayeed, the former chief of the Peoples Democratic Party of Jammu and Kashmir and two-time chief minister] sahib, unfortunately, did not understand all that. He had been a union home minister, but he never understood Delhi.