SRINAGAR – India’s former law and justice minister Ram Jethmalani has said that the Kashmir Committee is still alive and doing its job, but sometimes had to work out of public eye.
In 2002, India constituted the committee to reach out to Kashmiri leadership especially the Hurriyat Conference and Jethmalani headed it. “We face criticism of interfering in some peoples’ work and we do our work without publicity. Till I am alive, Kashmir Committee will be alive,” he told reporters here.
Jethmalani said he was interested in the future of Kashmir and desired to see the issue was settled. “Even today I have come here as ‘somebody’ interested in Kashmir affairs. I am interested in the future of Kashmir. It is my desire to see Kashmir issue should get resolved. It is such a beautiful nation, the violence should end and love should rule here,” he said.
“We should forget the petty things and love should rule,” the Indian politician said. He also said that there were some ‘disgruntled’ voices in Kashmir which needed to be addressed and people should sit down and resolve their differences amicably. “Democracy means that majority decides,” he said.
“Jammu Kashmir is the only state in India which had its own constituent assembly and whatever that assembly decided, the Constitution of India accepted and incorporated that,” Jethmalani said. “The people of Jammu Kashmir have decided, but there are some people who are ‘disgruntled’ which can be there in a democracy, but which has to be addressed,” he said.
“Everyone should think what can be done in the 21st century and what is in the interest of the country and people,” he said. He also said that the Hurriyat leadership should sit with an open head and heart and not take a stiff stand. “Whatever separatists (Hurriyat) are saying, would that happen? Their viewpoints will be heard. Today I met Shabir Shah and he said we will sit with an open head and talk with love,” he said.
On being asked why there was no word from the BJP-led coalition government on talks with Hurriyat Conference, Jethmalani said, “I am not a BJP leader. I have been expelled from the party. However, everyone knows about mine and Modi’s path. I came here and talked to ‘separatists’ first and then to my friends.”
He said his visit to the state ahead of the assembly polls scheduled later this year had nothing to do with the election. “Not at all. I have nothing to do with (state) election. I have not come here for any election-related activity. But I really want that there should be peace and love in Kashmir and the true 'Kashmiriyat' which has been weakened, should be strengthened,” he said.