New Delhi August 8, 2012: On behalf of Kashmir
committee I would like to clarify that our recent visit to Srinagar
and our meetings with various political leaders was not aimed at proposing any
"compromise formula" or any particular solution to any of the
leaders, as mistakenly reported in several Kashmir
papers. That is NOT our mandate.
I would also like to clarify that neither
anybody in the government nor any of the political leaders of Kashmir have
authorized us to bring separatist leaders to come around to accepting the
PDP Self Rule document as a starting point for resolution of the Kashmir
problem as wrongly reported in several Kashmir papers. This is a total
misrepresentation of our mission.
Our visit was not meant
to be a media event. That is why the Kashmir Committee did not hold a press
conference or invite the press for an interaction either before or after the
visit. However, press reporters were present of their own initiative when we
went to meet certain prominent leaders.
Several citizens groups and civil society activists expressed the desire to
meet the Kashmir committee once they got to
know that we were visiting the state on August 4 and 5. We met as many as we
could take out time for in the two days.
We began our visit with a
meeting with Syed Ali Shah Geelani because we had to discuss various legal
cases of Hurriyat leaders being handled by Mr Jethmalani in Delhi courts. The primary purpose of the
visit was for Mr Jethmalani to do a site inspection of the area from which the
police claimed to have arrested Mr Ghulam Mohammad Bhatt whose case is being
argued personally by Mr Jethmalani in Patiala House court.
In addition we were invited by the Private
Colleges Association of Kashmir to hear their grievances against the state
government and help them fight the legal battle against various lawless
measures adopted by the state government in killing these colleges. We have
assured them of all possible help because the uncalled for regulations imposed
by the state government violate the fundamental rights of the academic
community in Kashmir that has tried to provide quality education to students,
not just of the Valley but also several other states of India-- against heavy
Political leaders and civil society activists apprised us of the high handed
actions of the government in putting prominent leaders under house arrest
without any formal warrants or due process. We also received complaints
regarding arbitrary denial of passports to Kashmiri citizens by the Home
Ministry. Jethmalani promised to follow up on these cases and requested
aggrieved individuals including Mr Geelani and Prof. Hamida Nayeem to provide
us detailed documents. The Committee is of the view that such needless and
arbitrary actions and restrictions add to the frustration, anger and a sense of
humiliation of the people of Kashmir.
We had extremely fruitful
discussions with leaders of the Geelani group of the Hurriyat as well as with
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and a
civil society group led by Hamida Nayeem.
We were particularly
happy to learn from a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits that Hurriyat leaders,
notably Syed Ali Shah Geelani had not only assured them of support in returning
to their homes in the Valley but also extended protection to families which
have already returned. However, Kashmiri Pandits expressed their unhappiness
and anguish at the indifference and callousness of the state government towards
the destruction and vandalization of Hindu temples. They said that majority of
Kashmiri Muslims wanted to help them rebuild their temples but a section of
fundamentalists in the Valley were determined to prevent them from doing so.
They expressed unhappiness over the fact that the state government was not
providing the required help and support even though they are willing to do
their own fund raising for this endeavour.
The warm personal rapport
we have established with these political leaders is evident from the fact that
they welcomed us even during the month of Ramzan. We were particularly touched
by the Iftar parties hosted for us by the Private Colleges Association as well
as Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani at the home of a Hurriyat (G) leader at which
several leading members of the Shoora were present.
During these interactions
each leader made concrete suggestions to us regarding the tasks Kashmir
Committee needs to undertake in order to create a conducive environment for the
peaceful and enduring resolution of the Kashmir
problem. But they also expressed deep concern at the radicalization and
increasing frustration among Kashmiri youth due to the insensitivity of both
the state as well as the central government.
We came to hear,
understand and take guidance on the course of action we need to follow--not to
broker a compromise. We share the anguish of the people of Kashmir
against the Government of India's complacent attitude towards the problems and
aspirations of Kashmiri people. We also share their disappointment with the
national media for paying attention to Kashmir
only when anger spills out on the streets. We also agree with them that the
national media presents a very prejudiced, ill informed and partisan view of
the issues and problems raised by Kashmiris.
We are of the view that
the Government of India will make the nation pay a heavy price for ignoring the
seething anger underneath the surface calm. The situation demands consistent
engagement with the people and leaders of Kashmir and a pro active peace
process with Pakistan in
order to find a peaceful, democratic and enduring solution to the Kashmir problem.