Kashmir Committee was first formed in 2002 by Ram Jethmalani, Member of Parliament
and Former Minister of Law & Urban Development. However due to
circumstances beyond its ken and control it became dormant within a year of its
formation. It was revived by Mr Jethmalani
in April 2011 after intensive dialogues with leading actors of Pakistani
civil society organizations, and senior judges, politicians as well as the
President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. They all communicated to him the need
to create a platform that would garner all the forces desiring peaceful and
democratic resolution of the Kashmir problem and enduring peace between India
and Pakistan. We sense a similar keenness for a permanent resolution of the
Kashmir problem within India. However, even though we are responding to the
growing peace constituency in Pakistan and India, the present Kashmir Committee
is not acting at the behest of either the Government of Pakistan or the
Government of India.
invited me to take charge of steering the affairs of the revived Kashmir
Committee as its Convener. Three of the present members of the Kashmir Committee,
Former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, Former Ambassador VK Grover and eminent
editor and journalist M.J.Akbar were members of Kashmir Committee I as well. A significant
addition to KC II is Waheed Ur Rehman, a journalist from Pulwama district of
Committee II took shape against the backdrop of the violent upsurge of 2010
when lakhs of young men and even children came out on the streets in Kashmir to
vent their anger against the State government for its callous response to the killing
of 120 innocent young men and
children during the “stone pelting”
movement which forced closure of the government offices, schools, colleges and
business establishments for months on end.
of teenagers were arrested and locked up in jails under the draconian Public
Safety Act which enables the J&K Government to keep people in jails without
trial. Even though the Chief Minister of J&K tried to escalate the crisis
by calling army to quell the civil revolt against his regime, in an
unprecedented move, the then Army Chief as well as the Core Commander in charge
J&K refused to let the army be used to crush what they saw was a political
protest against misrule.
the Govt. of India did not take this as a warning signal. They treated the
popular protest with disdain and expected the movement to peter out as people
got exhausted and demoralized. In order to buy time, a team of Interlocutors
were sent to J&K to engage with people and advise the government of India. However,
almost all the separatists refused to meet the official Interlocutors.
felt that the urgent need to break the continuing stalemate over Kashmir,
especially considering that there is a deep desire among people of Kashmir and
a growing constituency in Pakistan for a peaceful and honorable settlement of
the Kashmir problem.
believe that as concerned citizens we cannot sit and watch the situation drift
aimlessly. This complacency and indifferences demoralizes the people of Kashmir
and forces them to believe that the GOI takes note of their frustration only
when people throw stones, hurl grenades and indulge in widespread violence.
June 2011 KC II met a diverse spectrum of political opinion in the Valley. This
included both separatists and mainstream politicians. We also met several
organizations of lawyers, medical doctors, academics, traders as well as
organizations of surrendered militants who came to us with their own list of
demands for rehabilitation. In July 2011 we
visited the Jammu region where we started our interaction with Kashmiri Pandit
migrants who were ousted out of the Valley when separatist militancy was at its
peak. This was followed by meetings with mainstream politicians, university
teachers, lawyers, and media professionals. We will also be visiting the Ladakh
region in the coming months to bring the diverse people of that neglected
region into the process of exploring a consensually acceptable solution.
Interactions with people from J&K are not limited to our visits to the State.
Several key individuals and organizations have come and met us in Delhi as a
follow up to the interaction started with our visits. For example, we recently
took up the grievances of the managements and teachers of private colleges in
Kashmir to the Minister for Human Resource and Development. We have also set up
a legal cell for handling cases of those wrongly confined to jails. Some of
these cases are being argued in the courts by Mr Jethmalani himself.
of the key complaints we repeatedly heard from a whole range of people is that even though
the Government of India and opinion makers in the country never tire of
asserting that Kashmir is an atoot ang
or “integral part of India”, they pay no attention to the problems faced by Kashmiri
people or even that of Jammu region except when people take to the streets in
anger. The national media is
criticized for practicing “parachute journalism” and for remembering Kashmir
only when bombs start exploding or when separatist slogans rent the air.
We believe that enduring peace and a just
solution to the Kashmir problem will happen only when concerned citizens act as
bridges of communication between the diverse regions and ethnic communities of
J&k as well as evolve a consensually acceptable solution. The Government of
India will not be able to ignore or bypass such a mutually agreed upon formula
for settlement of the vexed Kashmir problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Ram Jethmalani ( MP Rajya Sabha, Former Law Minister)
Shanti Bhusahan ( Eminent lawyer, supreme Court of India and former Law Minister Government of India)
V.K Grover (Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, GOI)
M.J Akbar (Editorial Director, India Today, Editor, Sunday Guardian)
Wahid Ur Rehman (Journalist from Pulwama, Kashmir)
CONVENOR: Madhu Purnima Kishwar (Founder MANUSHI, Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies)