An Open Letter to Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

Dear Sir,

Greetings, your Excellency

As you headed the recent Congress panel of high-level policy group which arrived in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday for a “first-hand assessment,”, I have few points which I want to convey to you through this piece. 

Right on onset, we should accept this fact that there is a problem. We should not look Kashmir as a law and order issue. There is a genuine problem, which we need to address. Instead of winning the hearts and minds of Kashmiris, Indian establishment is trying to impose their forced rule in Kashmir. They provoke Kashmiri youth by using wrong tactics and portray them as terrorists on National media.

Kashmir is a political issue and it should be dealt politically taking all stakeholders on board. Kashmiris including India and Pakistan are suffering physically as well as economically due to this unresolved Kashmir imbroglio.  Fiddling with article 370 or 35A and hurting the sentiments of people by interfering in their religious matters have done more harm than the good. It has alienated the people of Kashmir and they feel Indian authorities are at war with them. Indian establishment needs to own Kashmiris. They need to assure them that Kashmiris are more important to them than the land of Kashmir. Instead Kashmiris are harassed on one pretext or the other.

Recently a crackdown was launched against Kashmiri politicians, doctors, engineers, journalists, advocates and other intellectuals on the garb of NIA investigations. This way, you are losing ground on Kashmir. More and more people join in anti-India chorus now due to this insane approach.

You should accept this fact that you have done blunders in Kashmir. The horrible incidents of Kunan Poshpora, Shopian, Machil, Chattisinghpora are still fresh in the minds of the people. The number of fake encounters, forced disappearances, rapes were committed by Indian forces and no legal action was taken against the culprits.  Students of Kashmir  have now taken on roads not for jobs or perks but for something which is their birth right. They want freedom from atrocities, crackdowns, illegal detentions and a space to express themselves. They might have used violence as a way to achieve their cherished dream but India as a responsible country should counter them in an immaculate way.

One Burhan was killed  but more Burhans followed him. This cycle of violence is not going to end as long as you solve this vexed issue as per the aspirations of all the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Let’s all work together and resolve this dispute once for all so that peace prevails in the whole sub-continent.

You being gentle and modest, we hope you will make strenuous efforts to start a meaningful approach and use all your possible resources for the final settlement of this long pending issue. You should persuade all the people at the helm of affairs that solution to Kashmir dispute is for the betterment of the whole region.  We all are keeping our fingers crossed and we hope you will make a good impact to make Kashmiris get rid of this disquiet.

Javeed Ali

[email protected]

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