Do Kashmir separatists seek to revive dialogue with new Indian government?

June 7, 2009

After India’s ruling Congress party won a decisive victory, Kashmir’s main separatist alliance urged New Delhi to resolve the decades-old dispute over the Himalayan region.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said India has a strong government after a long gap and it is time for a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Are Kashmir separatists seeking to revive a stalled dialogue?

Talks between New Delhi and moderate separatists broke down in 2007 after three years, and the failure, which separatists say further alienated the people of the region from India, was partly attributed to the country’s “weak” government.

In the biggest anti-India rally this year, Hurriyat chairman Farooq said India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had made a promise to the people of Kashmir, and it was time the new Congress-led government fulfilled it.

But Farooq is battling opposition at home from more radical leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and militant groups who oppose talks with India without the participation of Pakistan.

The peace process between India and Pakistan, who both claim Kashmir and have fought two of their three wars over it, has advanced little as the Pakistan government is caught up in its own domestic crises.

Although violence in Kashmir has declined to its lowest level since the separatist revolt began in 1989, peace remains a distant dream and little seems to be hunky-dory for New Delhi in Kashmir.

Almost daily street protests are giving new life to a separatist movement and pro-India politicians in Kashmir are realising that.

National Conference, Kashmir’s ruling party, seems serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute.

Party chief Farooq Abdullah has said Hurriyat should get ready for talks.

“The process will be started soon after the formation of new government at centre,” he said.

The National Conference says it will try its best to take forward the dialogue process, but many strife-weary residents are cynical.

A history of suspicion and mistrust between New Delhi and Srinagar still poses a serious risk to any future peace efforts in the region.

Can the new Indian government overcome it and initiate a dialogue with separatists?

23 comments

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The National Conference in Kashmir has always been used as Indian goverment proxy to keep its hold of kashmir by using ‘locals’. Its amazing how this party which has everything to loose if kashmiris are given their right to choose “seems serious about resolving the Kashmir dispute”.

The whole region will gain if kashmir
issue is resolved,however that would involve world pressure on India which is no where to been seen or heard. As the world marked the 20 years of the tragedy of Tianamen square,its about time the long suffering of kashmiris gets due recognition.

The danger is these protests will again be ‘forgotten’ and the region will remain embroilled in a dispute that cannot be ignored.

Posted by abrar | Report as abusive

Indian government has been never sincere in dialogue. What New Delhi must do, first try to win confidence of the people and restore faith and trust than only talks can bring some fruit. Otherwise it is all waste and big joke with Kashmiris.

Posted by Imtiyaz Shah | Report as abusive

Talks are always good. But do you really think India is serious. New Delhi is treating Kashmir as a colony and trouble and pain of Kashmiris do not affect them at all. So I don’t think Kashmiri separatists should any kind of dialogue with New Delhi unless a third party like United States is involved.

Posted by dr shugufta | Report as abusive

@As the world marked the 20 years of the tragedy of Tianamen square,its about time the long suffering of kashmiris gets due recognition
-Posted by abrar

–And how about 20 yrs of tragedy of killing, rape, house burning of the Kashmiri Pundits and the exodus of half million Kashmiri Pundits–schemed by ? That’s right the world does not mark that, but India does and Kashmiris cannot avoid this baggage of history. Just reminding to pick this load.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

We in Kashmir really feel dejected and humiliated. We are protesting and mourning for the last nine days for the rape and murder of two innocent women,a 17 years girl and her 22 years sister in law. Our Chief Minister while announcing holding of Judicial Enquiry declared in the same breath in press conference ibid that as per his reports the women in question were neither raped nor murdered. One day before that Divisional Commissioner Kashmir also made a similar statement. In view of this the appointment of judicial commission of inquiry is just a mockery. The statements of family members of victims clearly indicated that women were raped before murder. One body was found naked by her brother. Bruises & torture marks were found on both bodies. The first post-mortem report also suggested the same and today’s papers indicate that the special team of FSL experts & Doctors have also confirmed rape and murder of both innocent women. The Police had only filed a Missing report of the two women and were reluctant to file FIR for rape & murder. Now after ten days FIR has been filed for rape only and not for murder. Govt; is not allowing delegation of Kashmir Bar Association to visit the site. Our women are also not allowed to express their sentiments & mark protests / express sympathy with victims’ families. Govt is using brute force and clamping curfew –declared & undeclared to prevent people to express their anger.We wonder where the conscience of Indian civil society, human rights organizations especially women’s rights organizations / National Commission for Women has gone and why they are silent. Local media is barred from covering news about the episode and protests. National Media is almost blacking out the happenings. The use of Internet facility is greatly disturbed / almost barred. Why we should not feel isolated, enslaved and subjugated. May God protect the innocent and embolden the human beings in India & World over to say the truth and support the truth.

Posted by zahoor | Report as abusive

kashmir pundits should be part of any final agreement on the status of kashmir and majority muslim kashmiris have repeatedly asked for their return.

Just reading the details of those writing from kashmir suggests the FIR was regisitered only after repeated protests and Indian goverment will try all it can to quell the protests and then go back to status quo.

A weak pakistan goverment policy on kashmir has given a chance to India to continue it’s oppression to keep kashmir under its control and defy civilized norms in the occupied state.

Posted by abrar | Report as abusive

Militants/terrorists are carrying out killings and rapes to build hatred against the law enforcement in the valley.They can exploit the emotions of localss easily than by by AK47s. These are the ways used by Taliban that brutally oppressed the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Same tactics are applied here.

Mr. Lone’s defeat in last months parliamentary elections makes it abundantly clear that his separatist views were ignored by the kashmiris. Defeat and humiliation, is the underlying fear from which the separatists kept away from elections. Talibanization of Kashmiris will be the future of kashmir should any concessions be given to militants. We will witness girls school burnings, beheadings and mayhem in the valley, once the protective shield of India disappears. This is the classic example as to how a militant design takes shape in any corner of the world. First the poor will be exploited by the fundamentalists through their clergy . Then an armed struggle will break out with the help of global fundamentalist outfits. Rapes and killings will be staged by militants to build hatred against the majority religion.
Thailand and Philippines are experiencing the same as we are speaking. The militants typically claim victim status.
The next and final stage is what we currently see in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Having accomplished the installation of fundamentalist regimes, the totalitarian juntas will then restrict freedoms of the people. Kashmir’s next stage of ‘development’ and future will be that of enslavement of their women, oppression, violence and killings. As is what we see in present day Pakistan, that too after 6 decades of its miserable existence.
Living a democratic and secular way of coexistence is the way forward to all the populations of contemporary world. Once Pandits get back their previous rightful place in the valley, the situation can be justifiably assessed. So long as the majority muslims terrorize and expel the minorities from the valley the conditions spell doom for any peace in the valley. Imagine a valley with all its inhabitants of all religions living peacefully and free of fear. The majority muslim religion has to work hard to convince the minorities. Pakistan is a proven terrorist country and all terror camps should be destroyed. That will be the prelude of peace in the region.

One thing , we all have to understand, when the protesters are on the streets, denying curfew, it does not mean , what they said , is correct. It has been the order of the day in Kashmir valley when ever some untoward incident happens, they simply come on streets and throwing stones on our security forces, denying curfew instead of resoring to othermethods as per the law. The allegations against security forces have to be probed to find out the facts. Very recent our parliament elections have displayed that Kashmir is a integral part of India, where that state has also participated in the elections. No Indian is going to accept that Kashmir is not a part of India. It is through only dialogue and participation in the election by people in that State can the issues be resolved but within the perview of Indian constitution. Allowing any other country to mediate is just a moose around our own necks. Who has to blame for the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits from that state within India. What about the rapes, murders committed on them.

Not only in kashmir, even in southern tip of Tamilnadu, Indian Government handles issues like this. This is throughout India, to blame is congress slow governance process. separatists are trying to hijack the issue as colonism etc etc..

Posted by Badri | Report as abusive

I don’t believe separatist should talk to New Delhi, history is witness that from the last 60 years Indian ha been never sincere about Kashmir. They want ruin us ruin our economy and under the pretext of dialogue they are buying time and making Kashmiris tired. Separatist should intensify their struggle on diplomatic level, it is sure violence is no answer to the solution. But take Kashmiri Pandits also in confidence. More than 240 pundits have also been killed while as 80,000 Muslim have been killed.

Posted by Aijaz Ahmad | Report as abusive

It is high time that New Delhi should start a meaningful dialogue with separatists. The dialogue should be aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue that has taken thousands of lives in the two decade long violence.

Posted by majid | Report as abusive

In 1987 elections when elections were rigged by government the Kashmiri people lost faith on the govt. The Indian government should now learn lessons from the past and don’t try to repeat such misadventures. Only sincre talks will resolve the Kashmir issue

Posted by mir ehsan | Report as abusive

Kashmir is am in tegral part of India and will remian so by all means , this needs to accepted by so called seprtaist idealgists etc etc who think that they are the real repesentatives.

Sepeartaion , or even a word similar to it as a soluition to kashmir problem will not at be possible by any means

People need to undestand that pakistan is simply simply
inteseted in desablised India and kashmir is one effective route Create trouble in Kashmir , india forces react innoocents suffer and then they react thru protest again forces react in nocents die people gain protest

Its a vicious cycle being developed by Pakistan and Ksahmiris are being fooled by them.

So called leaders of Peace them selves do not want peace in kashmir be it Hurriat etc because there DUKAN will close if normal situation returns

People should realise that India has developed / nurtured J& K as its in tegral part Roads / power projects / grids other infrastructure created ., specail status – 370 is part of special recoganistion and imprtance of kashm ir in India. NO INDIAN govt will ever let it go down the drain.

Kshmir has an elected govt which is by all means there true reperntative ( Look at the Huge Turn out in Elections ) what else proof you need

HURRIat or any other DUKAN DAR of kashm iri respentative should be packed lock stock and barrel and sent to POK
run there show there becuse they are underdeveloped

India kashmir is perfectly ok if these SO called Dukan’s of Kashmir voices are just packed off,

rest all will fall in line.

Just a few observations based on the oinions expressed above
1. Lack of Development: We have all learnt that govts will not do anything to develop a region. We have a biggest example of such a basket case (take Bihar, Bengal, Orissa). J&K is not alone. Entrepreneurial spirit of people brings about such a change. Most of the development has happened inspite of the govt and not because of it.

2.Election Rigging: Been there, done that. Before the advent of the electronic voting machines and in the pre T.N.Seshan (former Chief Election Commissioner) days, very rarely were elections free and fair. J&K is no exception. I distinctly remember 2 occasions when my parents returned home without voting because their votes had already been cast. I am pretty sure rigging is not taking place these days because I have been able to vote even in the evenings, just before the end of polling!!

3.Unfortunate incidents in which innocent lives were lost: Again, these are not isolated incidents. Flashback to 2006 and the Nithari killings in Delhi or the police encounters in Mumbai or incidents in 2008 in West Bengal. Police will invariably try not to register a offence as it only increases their work. This is nothing unique to J&K.

The only way to control these and other such excesses is by participation and involvement. Voilence or ‘revolutions’ never succeed. One has to work within the system rather than outside to bring about some real change. This can be brought about by negotiations and participation. So YES, there should be dialouge between groups working for more rights in J&K and the Govt.

Posted by Arun | Report as abusive

Kashmir belongs to India and so does Pakistan and Bangladesh… These are land of Hindus and the current settlers have no right to live or stay in the said places. For peace, it would be better if these folks vacate the land and go to Haj.

Posted by rohit | Report as abusive

Whenever the Pakistan itself is in turmoil, it instigates small section of the Kashmiris who themselves declare as separatist, is nothing but Pakistan playing with fire. Pakistan has been facing the militancy of Taliban & Al-Quida due to its erroneous policies. It had become a prey / play ground for USA to force the withdrawl of Soviet forces from Afghanistan . During this process with the support of USA , Pakistan had encouraged the ISLAMIC MILITANTS all over the world to join the fight against Soviet forces. Once the Soviet Union was forced out from Afghanistan, the so called Taliban ( with Al-quida), trained meticulously by Pakistan Military , ISI ‘s Islamic brainwash, under supervision of USA with money, machine gun & logistic support , started working against USA’s interest instead of protecting American Interest all over the world. Pakistan has failed to realize the fault of involving a 3rd country in general and in particular any European country or USA to meddle in its affairs / guide its foreign policy either directly or indirectly.
We Indians should realize the dangers of involving the 3rd party in Kashmir issue. All these western countries & USA want a burning issue alive for ever to cater to their wested interests. This is quite evident in Israel-Palestine issue.
The Kashmir is an integral part of India and every Indian is ready for any sacrifice to protect its mother land. The present allegations against the security forces should be investigated to find out the facts , but creating chaos on streets, disobeying curfew , stone pelting on security forces by a section of people on Srinagar streets shows our neighbor is interested in India’s disintegration. It is highly deplorable to resort to street violence especially on our Security forces. It has become an order of the day in Srinagar to come on streets amass and start pelting stones on our security forces even for an incident happens outside India, where our security forces are not involved. Who has to be blamed for the atrocities committed on Kashmir Pandits , like rapes, murders, house burning and the exodus of half million Kashmir Pundits.
The Kashmiri people have to come to the negotiating table for peaceful settlement within the Indian constitution and I appeal to them not to become a prey to the vested interests of our neighbor.

@In 1987 elections when elections were rigged by government the Kashmiri people lost faith on the govt.
- Posted by mir ehsan

–So? There have been cases that elections have been rigged in many parts of India. But normalcy has been restored through proper security and EVM as it happened in J&K elections. You need to look at the rest of the India too. It is a pathetic reason for supporting terrorism-based struggle.
You are not getting any better or worse treatment than the rest of the Indians do.

All Kashmiris: For any bad news, there are huge protests. If you are not supporting terrorism (labeled as freedom stuggle), why there are no protests against Pakistan which funds, maintains terrorism, which in turn makes sure that Indian Army stays there. Also what’s your logic that you never protest against Pakistan for Kashmiris in so-called “Azad Kashmir”? Have you any idea what brethren and sistren in POK are going through? Well at least you are allowed to vent your spleen against India—not allowed in POK, so amke good and proper use of it.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

A dialogue between the seperatists and the Indian government can be led to fruition if the seperatists represent the plural and diverse fabric of J&K, not limited to the Muslims in the valley. The seperatists are check-mated at home because other communities in the state do not share their agenda.

The police mishaps – or brutality in this case – is not a Kashmir specific issue. It’s a nationwide problem. People are just annoyed by Kashmiris in the valley painting everything by the same brush. The out-of-work seperatist leaders of Kashmir suddenly got a new job. And, they are doing what they know best; which is resorting to violence. Who says there is not enough work for everybody?

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

IF they dare Separatists should contest elections? More than 70% people participated in Election, which shows separatists are dead. It is high time that separtists give back money they got from Pakistan and join the majority of kashmiris of peaceful living. After middle-east Indian-muslims are the one who are leading a decent, self-respected and beautiful life in the subcontinent. donot cry godhra godhra.. for everything…

Posted by Cholas | Report as abusive

Kashmir is part of India so they have to prepare their mind it can’t possible as a separate destiny for terrorism that they separatists want if govt. gives me the chance to settle in kashmir i wanna to die there but as a true indian.
jai hind.

Posted by dev dutt | Report as abusive

Aijaz Ahmad writes:
“Separatist should intensify their struggle on diplomatic level, it is sure violence is no answer to the solution.”
Good! This realization should help.

“But take Kashmiri Pandits also in confidence.”
Easier said than done. Suggest some method to do that. Those who have been leading a miserable, pathetic existence as refugees in their own country for the past 20 years will never forgive those who brought them to this pass. The solution: Create a union territory as they are asking where they can lead a secure life as equal,honourable, respected citizens of India.

” More than 240 pundits have also been killed while as 80,000 Muslim have been killed.”
Pandits didn’t take up arms. They were forced to flee for their safety. Those who used the gun to make India bend died by the gun. Those who used the gun must ponder over what kind of “favours” they received from those who supplied them with those AK47′s and other lethal weapons.

Posted by G.Din | Report as abusive

all this kashmiri sepratism is limited to four lanes in the old city of srinagar & is highlighted by fad journos…

Posted by anup | Report as abusive