Journalists in Kashmir
Letter to the editor …
Uncensored footage of events at the Srinagar University carried by the media over the last couple of days is an eye-opener for everyone in India, Pakistan and rest of the world. One thing that stands out loud and clear is that no one can now take the people of Kashmir for granted. There is a wide awakening among them and they are determined to pay any price to achieve their rights. The following points emerge clearly:
1. A division of Kashmir is not acceptable.
2. The status quo along the Line of Control is no solution.
3. Autonomy within the existing set-up is not worth consideration.
4. Kashmir is not an ‘atoot ang’ of India.
5. No solution is acceptable without the participation of the people of Kashmir.
6. Prior to 1947 Kashmir had its own prime minister which indicates its status as an independent state.
7. The most preferable solution to the dispute is independence.
8. Elections are only a sham and the results remain the same whether people cast their votes or they do not.
9. With the split in the Hurriyat, there is no authentic body to represent the genuine sentiment of the people.
10. There is a deep-rooted hatred for the Indian occupation army.
11. Fondness for a plebiscite has also faded.
The horrendous tales of atrocities let loose on people as narrated by them are heart-rending. There appears to be a firm resolve among them not to let their sacrifices go waste. The polarization on the campus was significant and could not be concealed by administrative controls. The charged atmosphere outside the conference room that drew out the media from the controlled discussion inside the room depicted the popular mood of the people.
The timetable set out for a composite dialogue mentions only one point on Kashmir and that is, the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service. This is only cosmetic and does not substantively address thebigger issue. It will, however, help reunite the divided families on both sides and in some way ameliorate their misery.
The single most powerful message that comes out of the Pakistani journalists’ visit is that Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir and that no other party has a right to unilaterally impose a solution on them against their wishes.
S. M. H. Bokhari