Kashmir Needs Tripartite Talks: Kashmiri Civil Society

kashimiri-peopleBy Chauthi Duniya Bureau
There has not been any change in Delhi’s attitude. The government sees the Kashmir issue as a law and order problem only. People like Mr. Sinha (Yashwant Sinha) come here, hold talks and go back after issuing statements. Such things will never achieve anything. There is no one here who could understand their language. The same thing has happened to interlocutors (like Radha Kumar, M.M. Ansari and late Dilip Padgaonkar). Despite putting lots of efforts in preparing reports, they had to face immense humiliations. The whole exercise was done with the intention of passing time. In fact, they want to harass us, and they do not intend to do anything else. The belief that no one is ready to listen and understand the views of civil society conveys a bad message.
How many people in India understand the main cause of the Kashmir problem? If some of them are aware of this, it is due to your (Santosh Bhartiya’s) efforts. Like you some other journalists have also written columns. This will create further awareness among people regarding this problem. I feel that common people should also pay serious attention to the problem. The government should also understand that it has made some promises regarding the issue and it has to fulfill them.
A fresh problem has come up. It is related to some important appointments which India has made in the context of Kashmir. The new army chief is known as a Kashmir expert. The intelligence chief and National Security Advisor fall in the same category. They are also famous as experts of Kashmir issue. The navy chief is also known as a Kashmir expert. A military mindset has been created regarding the Kashmir issue, and it is seen through this prism only.
Today, I was reading a newspaper’s report that said, “Now a father does not prevent his son from getting radicalised.” The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the parents, who until yesterday used to ask their children to concentrate on their studies, do not stop their children anymore. They allow them to go wherever they want, despite knowing the fact they will lose their children forever. It is really a strange situation when a father tells his child that he will neither stop him nor put any kind of restrictions on him. It does not matter if our child is killed; we will suffer loss, our business will be affected or it can even close down. But, this not a right thinking, because – God forbid – this will eventually lead to bloodshed.
This situation has been prevailing since 1947, and it has remained the same until now. There has been so much violence, several people have been killed, many children have become orphan, several sisters have lost their brothers, mothers have lost their beloved children, and several women have become widow. We have seen all this from our own eyes. We had peace in 1947. After that we lived peacefully from 1953 to 1964 or perhaps until 1965. Then few of us took up arms. After that we again showed inclination for peace and started making efforts for peace. Some friends like you came to us in 1990, 1991 and 1992. They told us that they wanted to do something for us on behalf of civil society and asked us to drop the arms. We said to Yasin Mallik that let peace be given a chance. He gave up the arms. Everything is on record. But, despite such significant developments no solution has been found for the problem and it does not reach to any conclusion.

Today, I was reading a newspaper’s report that said, “Now a father does not prevent his son from getting radicalised.” The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the parents, who until yesterday used to ask their children to concentrate on their studies, do not stop their children anymore. They allow them to go wherever they want, despite knowing the fact they will lose their children forever. It is really a strange situation when a father tells his child that he will neither stop him nor put any kind of restrictions on him. It does not matter if our child is killed; we will suffer loss, our business will be affected or it can even close down. But, this not a right thinking, because – God forbid – this will eventually lead to bloodshed. 

If they have the illusion that the problem can be resolved by crushing Kashmiri people then I would like to say that they have developed a big misunderstanding. Around 900 years ago (in 12th century), Pandit Kalhana had written in his historical book Rajtaringini (River of Kings) if you want to win over Kashmiri people you can achieve this by love and affection. So, if we do not resolve this issue then it can cause several problems and it will lead to very dangerous consequences.
Another thing which I see in newspapers is, we have found the solution, the problem has been resolved and markets are now opening there. If the Hurriyat was unable to shut down Kashmir for two or five days, the Indian civil society should have shown a positive reaction to it. But, you manipulate the situation against us only by saying, “now everything is fine.” Ideally, you should come four steps forward, and we should reciprocate by taking two or one step, but we do not see this happening. The only outcome of visits by Mr Sinha or civil society groups have been that they arrived, held meetings and went back.
The reality is that Sheikh Abdullah was not an elected representative. You argue that Hurriyat is not an elected representative of people. Then one can ask whether Sheikh Abdullah was an elected representative? He did not participate in any election either. But, when the legislature was formed and as soon as it ratified the accession, you had put Sheikh Abdullah behind bars. In a nutshell, it is this type of politics which has been prevailing here.
The most important feature of Kashmir is that there were no queues outside its banks after the announcement about the demonetization on 8 November. People continued to do transactions inside banks as usual. This place does not have terror money; it does not have any black money. Yet meaningless things have been said in order to defame the Kashmiri people.
If someone thinks that all this (the movement) will be finished, then he is wrong. It has to continue, and it will eventually reach its destination. We will continue to march on until we reach our destination.
As far as the question of a referendum’s reason is concerned, that is whether it should be held according to wish or need, then I want to say that referendum is necessary.
If something has to be approved then it is done after rejecting several other things. In past, several efforts were made. Shimla agreement was achieved, Nehru-Bogra agreement happened, Tashkent Pact was made, and then talks were held between you and us (Kashmiris) on this issue. An agreement was reached in 1975 also, but the issue could not be resolved. Even the Rajiv-Farooque accord could not solve the problem. From all these experiences we must take a lesson, that is, the problem cannot be resolved until all the three sides do not sit together and hold talks on the issue. If you say that we can do something through some kind of compromise then we Kashmiri people will never allow this.
On the issue of holding a referendum, you say that people of Jammu region do not want this, they are with India. You claim that 90 per cent of Hindu brothers do not want this – it is their. You claim that there are Buddhists in Leh (Laddakh) region, but their total population is only 165000.
The best possible option is that you and we should sit on the negation table, and invite them also for the talks and see if it is going to achieve a solution? As per the UN resolution, we should consider holding referendum. It is not a right approach to say that Jammu, Leh, Shias, or so and so are not in its favour. The petition moved by India in the UN says that we will hold a referendum.
This article is based on talks held between a civil society team headed by Kamal Morarka that was sent from Delhi and some members of Kashmir’s civil society.

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