Saturday, June 02, 2012

Document Of Problems Mattoo on interlocutors’ report


Jammu, May 28: Former Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University and presently Professor of International Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia, Amitabh Mattoo, has, like many others, also reacted to what the New Delhi-appointed interlocutors’ have suggested and recommended in their roundly condemned report. In fact, he has penned down his reaction, which was today reported by a local English language daily. From his reaction, it became clear that he is not happy with the interlocutors and Ministry of Home Affairs.

He is not happy with the interlocutors because they have not recommended anything concrete which could end unrest in the State. Left to him, he would give C grade to the report as it is devoid of “originality of thought and new ideas”. “In trying to navigate between the Scylla (of not embarrassing the MHA) and Charybdis (of trying to think out of the box for a resolution acceptable to the people of different parts of J&K), the interlocutors have failed in both objectives,” he has said and added that the interlocutors met almost everyone, barring those who have “lost faith in the system” (read Kashmiri extremists, fanatics and separatists).

The fact of the matter is that Amitabh Mattoo, who was close to at least two of the three interlocutors, have castigated the interlocutors for their utter failure to diagnose what ails Kashmir and suggest ways and means which could have gone a long way in resolving the so-called Kashmir issue and ending “alienation” of Kashmiri Muslims. Interestingly, he has not said a single word about the plight of the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus, but it is understandable. He is on record having said at Geneva a few years ago that “he doesn’t represent Kashmiri Hindus” and that “he has his own viewpoint” on the issues facing Jammu & Kashmir. Remember, initially Mattoo was a votary of greater autonomy and subsequently he started vouching for self-rule as well as for a solution that also satisfies Pakistan and addresses its concerns, including its stand on the Jammu & Kashmir waters. Besides, he, like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has all along advocated the need of rendering the border and Line of Control irrelevant and porous. His unhappiness with the interlocutors needs to be viewed in the light of the fact that they have not suggested what he has all along vouched for, and continues to vouch for.

He is unhappy with the Union Home Ministry because it availed of the services of the likes of Dilip Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar who were expert only in the art of cut and paste. “For the review of existing plans/ ideas/ proposals, almost cut and pasted in the report, I would give a B+. But for the most essential part, originality of thought and new ideas, the report deserves a C grade. If indeed this was an academic paper it may have been even failed for not giving credit to most ideas borrowed from others and non attribution of sources,” he has said while taking on the Union Home Ministry and added “this is shocking, a travesty, a colossal waste of public funds and time, and will further erode the faith of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in the sincerity of New Delhi and the ability of the MHA leadership to think strategically”. He does make a point when he reacts this way and opines that “the Report can at best be…treated as an extended essay on the problems of J&K funded by the MHA”.

The reaction of Mattoo could be surely construed as a blistering attack on the interlocutors and the Union Home Ministry. There is no doubt that the interlocutors and the Home Ministry have bungled and wasted the hard-earned taxpayers’ money. But, at the same time, one would surely say that Mattoo would have been very much pleased had the interlocutors straightway recommended what he had been advocating, particularly since his induction in the University of Jammu as its Vice-Chancellor. It would not be out of place to mention here that the BJP-led NDA Government had inducted this “track II” actor in Jammu University to facilitate Kashmir settlement as per the will and aspirations of the Kashmiri separatists and fanatics. His was not an ordinary appointment and he encouraged in the university activities similar to the ones Kashmir University was known for.

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