<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had believed that there was not much resistance and opposition in the streets to the dismissal of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah from the prime ministership of J&K in August 1953. Nehru had assumed that Kashmir had returned to normal and the general public had compromised with the status quo. But when Prophet’s holy relic was stolen from Srinagar’s Hazratbal shrine in the intervening night of December 26 and 27 in 1963, the news spread like wildfire and consumed Kashmir’s streets, sparking large-scale arson and violence.In the words of veteran journalist late Sanaullah Bhat, a volcano had erupted, which had been held back under pressure. India’s former envoy in Pakistan TCA Raghavan in his recent book The People Next Door—The Curious History of India’s Relations with Pakistan narrates that the eruption of this agitation in Kashmir hurt Nehru’s self-esteem, much more than the defeat at the hands of China a year ago. He was hurt to the extent that he fell ill.Nehru asked Lal Bahadur Shastri to visit Srinagar to cool tempers by talking to a cross-section of people. On his way to the airport, Shastri stopped at Teen Murti House. Nehru reminded him to take warm clothes, as there will be freezing temperatures in Kashmir. But Shastri didn’t have clothes, except his khadi and jacket. Nehru lent him his warm overcoat to send him as the Central government’s first interlocutor. His visit resulted in release of Abdullah from prison after seven years. His cases were dropped and he was invited to meet ailing Nehru. He was allowed to travel to Pakistan to talk to the leadership there. But during his tour to Pakistan, Nehru passed away and Abdullah returned without accomplishing his mission. A year later, he was again behind bars.After the Shimla agreement between India and Pakistan in 1972 that led to the release of Pakistani prisoners of war, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed her confidante G Parthasarathy to open dialogue with Abdullah.Parthasarathy conducted 46 rounds of talks with Abdullah’s right-hand man Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg over the next three-and-a-half years. The talks led to the Indira-Abdullah Accord of February 1975. Sheikh became Chief Minister of the state and had ab assurance under Article 4 of the Accord that all central laws extended to the state between 1953 and 1975 will be reviewed. But by the time of his death in 1982, Abdullah’s relations with New Delhi had soured. He was accusing New Delhi of not allowing him to review the laws.In 1984, Sheikh’s son Farooq Abdullah was dismissed from chief ministership. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi soon appointed Rajesh Pilot to build bridges with Farooq. Pliot’s interlocution led to the 1986 Rajiv-Farooq Accord. Its provisions were mirror copies of the 1975 Accord with the exception that Farooq agreed to share power with the Congress. Farooq’s National Conference cadres and general public rejecting it. To prove that the Accord was successful, a year later in 1987, both the Centre and the state government engineered a massive rigging in the assembly elections. Many experts believe that the rigging shook people’s faith in democratic systems and created room for militancy.In 1990, at the peak of militancy, Prime Minister VP Singh appointed George Fernandes as the pointsman for Kashmir. First time, in Delhi, a ministry of Kashmir affairs was set up under the supervision of Fernandes. But at the same time Singh also appointed Jagmohan as J&K Governor. Both of them worked at cross purposes leading to the failure of each other’s efforts.In 1993, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao also banked on Pilot. He was appointed as junior minister incharge of internal security with a purpose to open a political channel in Kashmir. He did so successfully by engineering defections within militant ranks and creating Ikhwans, an anti-militant force.In April 2001, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee appointed deputy chairman of Planning Commission KC Pant as interlocutor. His mission failed, as separatists, barring Shabir Shah, boycotted him. His mission was wound up a year later.In 2003, Vajpayee appointed NN Vohra (current J&K’s Governor) as interlocutor. Vajpayee’s successor Manmohan Singh continued him on the job. Vohra roped in moderate Hurriyat leadership to have two rounds of talks with then deputy PM LK Advani and another two rounds with Manmohan Singh. He also was man behind three roundtable meetings supervised by the PM himself that produced five working group reports on confidence-building measures. He stayed on the position till 2008, when he became Governor.In 2010, following an unrest in which 120 youth were killed, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed three interlocutors — (late) Dileep Padgaonkar, MM Ansari and Radha Kumar. They also faced a boycott from separatist groups but presented a report to the government in May 2012. Sharma will be the government’s ninth interlocutor in Kashmir.GOVT’S POINTSMEN OVER THE YEARS1963: PM Nehru sent Lal Bahadur Shastri to Kashmir when violence swept through the valley. 1972: Indira Gandhi appointed her confidante G Parthasarathy to open dialogue with Sheikh Abdullah. 1986: PM Rajiv Gandhi appointed Rajesh Pilot to build bridges with Farooq Abdullah. 1990: At the peak of militancy, PM VP Singh appointed Geroge Fernandes as his pointsman for Kashmir. 1993: PM Rao also banked on Rajesh Pilot. 2001: PM Vajpayee appointed KC Pant. In 2003, He chose NN Vohra 2010: PM Manmohan Singh chose (late) Dileep Padgaonkar, MM Ansari and Radha Kumar.


From Shastri to Sharma, how Central govts have tried to bring peace to Kashmir