By Nandini KrishnanThe biggest mistake on Kashmir was made by Pakistan, says journalist Kuldip Nayar in the third and final part of an exclusive interview with sify.com.The Kuldip Nayar Interview: Part I
| Part IIOne quote that must have come as a shock to most people is Abdul Ghani Lone saying that 20,000 people should be killed in order for the Kashmir problem to settle. What has the reaction from Kashmir been to that?
I haven’t read any reactions so far, though two-three people have said they’ve liked the book. When I said 20,000, I was quoting him, that’s all. He said, ke
, look here, now if you want to re-establish your authority, you have to kill so many people.
But we have killed twice that number, and we still haven’t re-established our authority. What was in my mind was this – what kind of killing we have had to do, and for what?
What do you think India’s biggest mistakes in Kashmir have been, so far?
(Pauses) See, we should not have given this bait of plebiscite. That was a mistake. Because then, in the people’s minds, there remained a choice – they felt “We have a choice.”
If you keep on giving choices to the states here, even now, they will also do the same thing. If you don’t [give them that choice], they will settle down. I think that’s the biggest mistake India made.
In fact, Mountbatten made the mistake, and got Nehru to agree.
But I think the biggest mistake was Pakistan’s, because it could not wait. We could not have retained Kashmir, because after all, it was a Muslim-majority area. All that we could have done was taken away Jammu, that’s all. Because they hurried themselves, it became a bone of contention. If they had been patient, they would have got it.In Picture: A Kashmiri woman confronts Indian police officers during a protest in Srinagar on October 17, 2012. Dozens of residents blocked traffic and protested against the government decision to hike electricity bills and for capping the number of subsidized cooking gas cylinders at six a year.Image copyright: AP. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited