‘Accord Highest Priority to Kashmir Solution’ 

New Delhi: Seeking early resumption of a ‘holistic political process’ to resolve the long pending Kashmir Issue, members of Indian civil society belonging to various professions have submitted a memorandum to the President Pranab Mukherjee soliciting his intervention.

The memorandum was submitted jointly by a group of concerned citizens that included MM Ansari, former Interlocutor on J&K; HK Dua, former Media Advisor to Prime Minister; Ashok Bhan, Advocate Supreme Court; AS Dulat, Ex Director, RAW; Prof Hasnain, VC, Jamia Hamdard.

According to MM Ansari, the memorandum stated that India’s political and strategic interests are intertwined with the welfare and goodwill of the society in the J&K State. In spite of several piecemeal efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the State, thousands of people including women, children and the security forces have lost their precious lives. And, minorities have been exiled. A holistic political process needs to be evolved to resolve the imbroglio keeping in view the expectations and aspiration of all the sections of population of the state, particularly the youth.

“Kashmiris are yearning for peace. Of late, disturbing turns of events in the State, particularly in the valley, are observed. From 2010 onwards, the growing unrest in the valley due to unabated insurgency and militancy has resulted in deterioration in law and order of the State; and, consequent loss of lives of innocent persons. Education and employment opportunities have been missed to an unrecoverable extent. This has contributed to alienation and marginalization of entire population, particularly the youth who are agitating against the denial of socioeconomic and political entitlements as guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”

One of the major causes of the recent turbulence and violence is attributable to the betrayal of democratic expectations particularly after 2014 elections in the state, the memorandum stated. “The people overwhelmingly participated in the national elections with a hope that the political and democratic processes would ensure the realization of aspirations of every section of the society. And, thus, prepare the ground for effective socioeconomic empowerment of the people.

The Indian civil society members in their memorandum has asked the Government of India to implement several confidence building measures on priority basis. These Confidence Building Measures include the ‘release of all political prisoners and other detainees under Public Safety Act (PSA) inviting them for participation in a credible peace process, putting the recommendations made by experts on Kashmir in public domain for feedback, addressing grievances of all the sufferers, ban on the use of lethal weapons including pellets and bullets, compensation to pellet and bullet victim families, revocation of anti-people laws like Public Safety Act and AFSPA, making diplomatic efforts to sort out difference with Pakistan, ensure sustainable and equitable empowerment of all the three regions, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir regions, strengthening of democratic institutions and ensuring the proper implementation of Centrally and state sponsored schemes.’

 “Resolution of the Kashmir imbroglio should be accorded the highest priority within a shortest span of timeframe for which all the stakeholders, including those who for various reasons have not been part of the mainstream political parties, should be engaged for identifying and resolving all the contentious problems and issues,” the memorandum stated.

Another civil society member who was part of the delegation said on condition of anonymity that President of India really wants to wipe the tears of people of Kashmir. “The heart of Mr President’s goes out for the people of Kashmir who have been suffering to a great extent. He assured us that he will seriously take up the Kashmir issue with the Prime Minister of India,” he said. CNS

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