Skip to main content

"Meaningful" India-Pakistan dialogue: Whither Kashmiri stakeholders?

By Syed Mujtaba, Mirza Jahanzeb Beg*
Since 1989, the People of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) were killed, tortured, humiliated, and disappeared. Thousands were killed due to the cycle of violence prevalent in J&K. Thousands became permanently disabled due to thr ongoing cycles of violence. Many are those who lost their beloved children, daughters, sisters, mothers; some women have lost their beloved husbands who were the only earning hands in the family.
Due to the turmoil, thousands of houses and shops were burnt. A simple survey would reveal that every family in Kashmir has suffered in terms of youth killed, injured or tortured, a woman raped or molested, elder men and women dishonoured and humiliated. Those who were killed or injured were mostly innocent children between age 5 and 22; not only this, women were killed and injured during peaceful protest marches.
The most lamentable thing is that these atrocities and human rights violations have been committed by unidentified gunmen, forces, etc. Then there are some anti-human laws like the Public Safety Act (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), which are an open violation of international law, including thr International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which India has ratified.
These draconian laws provide complete freedom to forces to unleash strong military action against the people of J&K. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have reported countless stories of tyranny and oppression of forces in J&K. Killings through torture and hostage taking are a common phenomenon. Along with it, sexual violence and psychological torturing are another horrific weapon. Generally rape and violence against women is committed on gunpoint.
For the last many years, Kashmiris are not feeling safe in other parts of India, too; especially students become victims of acts of violence and communally-motivated organised crime, which amounts to terrorism. All this is all done through the misuse of power. Opportunists, communal politicians and media houses debunk the image of Kashmiri people everywhere, which gives rise to increased violence and suspicion against them.
Undoubtedly, it can be said that the Kashmiri people are talented, humane and generous, but the system has always suppressed them without taking into consideration their genuine demands. Democracy is based on rule of law, justice, equality, and liberty. But it’s quite ironic that these features of democracy are absent in J&K. All eruptions in the state have been the result of democratic failure. Yes, the Government of India refuses to acknowledge that the people of J&K have become totally alienated.
The Kashmir conflict is a legacy of the past. The international community had given Pakistan and India many chances to resolve outstanding issues. Adopting a bilateral approach, the political leadership of both the countries have failed, because prior to every sincere approach towards resolution, politically-motivated opportunistic preconditions are placed, which are not acceptable to one or the other side.
During negotiations political interests become paramount. Often, it is suggested that all stakeholders' interests would be taken into account. Yet, they are not recognised as a party to dispute, which maligns the spirit of an unconditional dialogue. Worse, over the last three years, there have not been any productive and substantive talks between India and Pakistan.
The leadership in India and Pakistan needs to realistically plan the future of the region but first they must accept the ground realities with an open mind-set. It is in fact the Kashmir issue which has blocked the process of normalisation of the political relationship between India and Pakistan.
Kashmir bleeds, and for the past seven decades the people of Kashmir are trapped in a status quo. The baggage of history weighs heavily on us, and a shift is possible only through sustained and unconditional dialogue — dialogue, as we all understand, is currently the most civilised and humane way to resolve conflicts.
There remains an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and to deliver justice to all the people in Kashmir who have been suffering from several decades of conflict. Any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to end the cycle of violence and unaccountability, human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties and redressal for victims. Such a resolution can only be brought about by meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir.
India and Pakistan should resume the dialogue process and engage all the stakeholders, including the people of J&K. It has to be a sustained and unconditional dialogue, aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue, which will be imperative for lasting peace in the South Asian region. Indeed, in order to move forward on Kashmir, a proper mechanism needs to be worked out.
Syed Mujtaba, Mirza Jahanzeb Beg
One aspect about Kashmir is amply clear: That it is a political issue which needs a political solution, but it is being pushed towards a military solution. Everlasting peace is not possible through the suppression of public sentiment by force. Sooner or later, the issue has to be resolved by adopting a diplomatic approach that takes into account all stakeholders; if things remain unresponsive, and if the prevailing situation predominates, war seems inevitable.
We hope that good sense will prevail, all parties to dispute will realise the evils of a violent conflict, and come to a peaceful conclusion, so that further bloodshed is prevented.
---
*Human rights activists, close observers of socio-political contexts. Contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.