Civil Society

Asserting that the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir could not be muzzled by the state’s repressive measures, a leading civil society group in Kashmir has called upon the all-party delegation visiting Kashmir to faciliatte phased demilitarization of the state and inittiation of trilateral dialogue with the stakeholders in the Kashmir issue for resolving the 63-year-old dispute.

In a memorandum submitted to the all-party delegation on Monday, the ,members of the Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), inlcuding finacial analyst Abdul Majeed Zargar, peadiatrician Dr. Altaf Hussian, social activist Anwar Ashai, former secretary Board of School Education  Bashir Ahmad Dar, academicians, Hameeda Nayeem and Qurat-ul-Ain, former chief conservator forests Noor-ul-Hassan, and writers Dr.Javed Iqbal, Arjimand Hussian Talib, and Z.G. Muhammad have suggested a two pronged strategy for India to realize its potential as a world leader by soritng out the Kashmirn issue which, according to it, hampered New Delhi, from the role it aspired to play in geopolitics.

"We the members of Jammu & Kashmir’s civil society wish to welcome this august delegation here in this hour of immense grief and suffering to the people of this state.
"We are of the firm opinion that you respected members of the Indian Parliament, who believe in the supremacy of democracy and the rule of law, will understand and help in addressing the political aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with internationally recognised democratic principles and the rule of law. We also believe that you fully appreciate the fact that no credible democratic system can exist, nor a people could be expected to live in peace, under tight and humiliating military control, extra-democratic maneuvering and undemocratic political and administrative systems," the memorandum says.

"The events of the past six decades in general and those of the past three months in particular are testimony to the fact that the voice of the people of Jammu & Kashmir cannot be muzzled despite the state’s repressive measures, which are totally untenable in this modern age.

Today a semblance of calm has been established in Jammu & Kashmir only after enforcing a strict curfew, deploying tens of thousands of armed forces, large scale detentions, complete media blackout, ban on sms services, and so on. The free hand given to armed forces to kill and maim civilians, while enjoying complete immunity, is unacceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir state. People’s spiritual, physical, economic and social spaces have been greatly infringed because of massive military presence in the state. No economic packages and cosmetic administrative measures can be a substitute for demilitarisation and a life based on political justice and rule of law.

We sincerely believe India has a key economic and political role to play in the emerging world order. However, its intense pre-occupation with Jammu & Kashmir’s is hurting its image of a humane, forward-looking and accommodative democracy. This long pending political issue is also hindering India’s positive engagement with its neighbours, resulting in unfavourable political, strategic and economic situations for it.

Towards sustainable peace in Jammu & Kashmir, ending the six decades of political uncertainty here, and India’s transition as a more confident economic and political superpower, we believe the government of India needs to embark on a two-pronged strategy:
1. Immediate measures for de-escalation and confidence buuilding
2. Long term steps towards a result-oriented trilateral engagemet with Islamabad and Srinagar to address Jammu & Kashmir dispute.

1. For immediate de-escalation and confidence building in Jammu and Kashmir, we call upon your good offices to help initiate:
a) Release of all political prisoners, including children and youth arrested during past three months.
b) Removal/withdrawal of bunkers and other security establishments from all civilian areas (Pre-1989 position)
c) Fixing responsibility for civilian killings, fake encounters, including those carried out at the Line of Control (LoC) by army officers for promotions and cash prizes
d) Initiation of legal action against those members of armed forces responsible for killing of innocent children, students, youth and other civilians.
e) Withdrawal of   draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) etc.
f) Return of all those people who have migrated from the state in the wake of 1990 situation.
f) Immediate cessation of civilian killings and other human rights violations

2. Long term steps towards a result-oriented trilateral engagemet with Islamabad and Srinagar to address Jammu & Kashmir dispute
a) Phased, time-bound and verifiable demilitarisation and engagement with main stakeholders
b) Facilitating re-opening of physical road connections between J&K and its neigbouring regions for trade/commerce as existed prior to 1947
c) A meaningful dialogue with Srinagar for the final settlement of Jammu & Kashmir."