The violence that had engulfed the Kashmir Valley since 9 July seems to be tapering off, but it will be entirely inaccurate to say that the unrest is over. Life is far from returning to normalcy as schools, shops and most establishments remain closed.
A group of civil society representatives visited Srinagar recently to assess the situation on the ground and listen to what various stakeholders had to say about the situation.
The group included BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, former chief of the National Commission for Minorities Wajahat Habibullah, Executive Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushoba Barve and Catch News Editor Bharat Bhushan. Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat were also supposed to join them, but eventually could not, because of various reasons.
The group met Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat and Shabir Ahmad Shah, representatives of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, the Kashmir Economic Alliance of traders and businessmen, civil society activists, journalists and academics, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor NN Vohra.
In this exclusive conversation, Bharat Bhushan says the situation in the Valley runs the risk of slipping into anarchy, if not addressed immediately.
It is also interesting to note why Geelani welcomed this delegation, after not even opening his doors for a parliamentary delegation that called upon him in September.