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

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”