Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir (BASJAK) 2007 Report Print
Written by Paul Beersmans   
Saturday, 01 September 2007 00:00

Excerpts from the full report:

Study tour report to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, 17 June till 14 July 2007

1. INTRODUCTION

c. There were no limitations or restrictions on movement, on the possibility to visit tourist and interesting places or on the possibility to meet whom so ever, including separatist and opposition leaders.  Security forces are there but they are not hampering freedom of movement.

2. MEETING WITH THE COMMON MAN IN THE STREET, IN THE KASHMIR VALLEY, KARGIL AND LEH

b. Violence and terrorism suppress the truth.  Nobody can speak openly and freely except the leaders with vested interests. Only they can say and do whatever they want. Since 1989, the truth is suppressed gradually.

c. Before 1989, there was zero violence, no militancy and consequently there were no human rights violations committed by the security forces.  At that time, zero tolerance was a non-issue.  Because of introduction of violence and anti-Indian propaganda from across the border all this changed. 

d. Dissident leaders are blaming the security forces of genocide of the Kashmiris but we see prosperity everywhere: the old cars are replaced by the latest models, posh villas, like mansions, and shopping centres are mushrooming, the bank deposits of the Kashmiris are sky-high, etc.  Not all this goes with genocide.  Something is wrong somewhere.  How do we correlate all this?

f. The Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of the Valley by mercenaries in 1990.  After more than seventeen years, their return is getting more and more blurred.  They are interested to return but on the other hand, they have taken roots in their new area.  Nevertheless, they have their emotional attachment and they only can return when peace is there and when the rule of law, not the rule of majority is re-installed.

g. Only a small portion of the Kashmiris wants to be with Pakistan.  The majority wants to return to ‘pre-militant’ situation; many of them want to stay with India, especially in Jammu and Ladakh.  This was again and again repeated while having contacts with the Kashmiris.  An important portion of the Kashmiris in the Valley is favouring independence.

h. People have suffered, people are suffering.  The Kashmiris are fed up with the gun; they are against militancy and the interference of foreign terrorists; they are against interference of Pakistan; they want a negotiated solution between India and Pakistan; they don’t want fundamentalism or communalism; they want the Pandits to return to their homes; they condemn strongly the killings of innocent people, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus as well; they are against cross-border terrorism and cross-border infiltration.  The militants (or separatists, or dissidents, or extremists, or terrorists, or mujahideen, or fedayeen, or freedom fighters, or ultras, or nationalists, or whatever name is given to those who are using the gun) should stop using violence to reach their aim.  The gun is no solution.  The ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan must be given a chance and should be speeded up, although the internal situation in Pakistan is not conducive to make much progress.

j. . . .Sometimes, it seems like the separatist leaders have all interests to keep the pot boiling: they have all facilities, their children are safe, they enjoy life whereas the poor Kashmiris are suffering.  Kashmir is used by Pakistan as a mean to wound India, Pakistan only wants to bleed India.

CONCLUSIONS

d. Priority must be given to end the sufferings of the Kashmiris.  This can only be realised by stopping violence: zero violence.  They want to have a future and jobs for themselves and their children.  After 17 years of militancy it is high time to give the growing up generation a chance to have a normal youth and education.

i. The 'opt-out' option proposed by People's Conference Chairman Sajad Lone does not find support in the Valley.  There is some support in Jammu-region whereas in Leh district Ladakh Union Territory Front is fully supporting this option.

p. There is no doubt that human rights violations are committed by the security forces and by the militants.  There is also no doubt that not all cases of human rights violations committed by the security forces are disclosed or prosecuted.   It is also a fact that the security forces always are blamed if something happens.  Dissident leaders do not mention and are not critical on human rights violations committed by militants or ordinary crimes committed by bandits.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2010 03:50