Jammu: Locals from Kashmir Valley who participated in “Kashmir: Back to Paradise” conference sponsored by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Wednesday in Jammu alleged that People’s Democratic Party General Secretary Nizamuddin Bhat twisted facts about Kashmir. They claimed that Bhat told reporters on the sidelines of the conference that demonetization in India stopped stone-pelting and violence in Kashmir Valley. His remarks invited sharp reactions from the participants hailing from Kashmir Valley.
Bashir Ahmed Quereshi who heads an NGO ‘Parwaz’ criticized Bhat for spreading lies. “Does youth in Kashmir die for Rs 500 notes? Does people in Kashmir hit to roads for money? Bhat is appeasing BJP and he thinks in Jammu he can speak anything,” Quereshi told news agency CNS.
The Kashmiri participants claimed that they would have never participated in the Conference if they would have been informed that men from political affairs will also participate in it. “We thought it will be apolitical, that’s why we participated in it,” said other participants.
The participants alleged that they were not allowed to express themselves in the Conference and it was wastage of time.
Pertinently, ‘Art of Living’ an NGO run by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had organized “Kashmir: Back to Paradise” conference at Abhinav Theater Jammu. Sanjay Kumar, one of the organizers of the Conference said that the objectives of the Conference were discussing ways to boost economy, skill development, education, employment and promoting art and culture from the Valley and collaborating on solutions towards a peaceful and prosperous Kashmir. He said that the conference provided a platform to diverse stakeholders from Jammu & Kashmir such as: Gujjar Bakarwals, teachers and professors of colleges, Trade Unions, Ex-militants, Stone-pelters, Sufi representation, representatives of communities like Sikhs, Buddhists, selected NGO’s from the state, Support groups of Army, Writers and poets, Youth leaders, Media persons, Women, Selected Kashmiri Pandits leaders, Representatives from Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Travel Agent Association of Kashmir and Representatives from J&K Hoteliers Club.
When contacted, Nizamuddin Bhat said that he has been misquoted as the PDP stand on the issue is clear and we believe that demonetization has nothing to do with stone-pelting. “I only said that demonetization badly hit Hawala transactions and that too at country level and in Kashmir alone,” he said and denied the reports that any protest was carried out at Abhinav Theater. (CNS)