Report of Kashmir Committee visit to Srinagar

Press Release

1774121241kashmir meeting

New Delhi August 8, 2012: On behalf of Kashmir committee I would like to clarify that our recent visit to Srinagar and our meetings with various political leaders was not aimed at proposing any “compromise formula” or any particular solution to any of the leaders, as mistakenly reported in several Kashmir papers. That is NOT our mandate.

 I would also like to clarify that neither anybody in the government nor any of the political leaders of Kashmir have authorized us to bring separatist leaders  to come around to accepting the PDP Self Rule document as a starting point for resolution of the Kashmir problem as wrongly reported in several Kashmir papers. This is a total misrepresentation of our mission.

Our visit was not meant to be a media event. That is why the Kashmir Committee did not hold a press conference or invite the press for an interaction either before or after the visit. However, press reporters were present of their own initiative when we went to meet certain prominent leaders.

Several citizens groups and civil society activists expressed the desire to meet the Kashmir committee once they got to know that we were visiting the state on August 4 and 5. We met as many as we could take out time for in the two days.

 We began our visit with a meeting with Syed Ali Shah Geelani because we had to discuss various legal cases of Hurriyat leaders being handled by Mr Jethmalani in Delhi courts. The primary purpose of the visit was for Mr Jethmalani to do a site inspection of the area from which the police claimed to have arrested Mr Ghulam Mohammad Bhatt whose case is being argued personally by Mr Jethmalani in Patiala House court.
In addition we were invited by the Private Colleges Association of Kashmir to hear their grievances against the state government and help them fight the legal battle against various lawless measures adopted by the state government in killing these colleges. We have assured them of all possible help because the uncalled for regulations imposed by the state government violate the fundamental rights of the academic community in Kashmir that has tried to provide quality education to students, not just of the Valley but also several other states of India– against heavy odds.
 Political leaders and civil society activists apprised us of the high handed actions of the government in putting prominent leaders under house arrest without any formal warrants or due process. We also received complaints regarding arbitrary denial of passports to Kashmiri citizens by the Home Ministry. Jethmalani promised to follow up on these cases and requested aggrieved individuals including Mr Geelani and Prof. Hamida Nayeem to provide us detailed documents. The Committee is of the view that such needless and arbitrary actions and restrictions add to the frustration, anger and a sense of humiliation of the people of Kashmir.
We had extremely fruitful discussions with leaders of the Geelani group of the Hurriyat as well as with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and a civil society group led by Hamida Nayeem.
 We were particularly happy to learn from a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits that Hurriyat leaders, notably Syed Ali Shah Geelani had not only assured them of support in returning to their homes in the Valley but also extended protection to families which have already returned. However, Kashmiri Pandits expressed their unhappiness and anguish at the indifference and callousness of the state government towards the destruction and vandalization of Hindu temples. They said that majority of Kashmiri Muslims wanted to help them rebuild their temples but a section of fundamentalists in the Valley were determined to prevent them from doing so. They expressed unhappiness over the fact that the state government was not providing the required help and support even though they are willing to do their own fund raising for this endeavour.
The warm personal rapport we have established with these political leaders is evident from the fact that they welcomed us even during the month of Ramzan. We were particularly touched by the Iftar parties hosted for us by the Private Colleges Association as well as Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani at the home of a Hurriyat (G) leader at which several leading members of the Shoora were present.
During these interactions each leader made concrete suggestions to us regarding the tasks Kashmir Committee needs to undertake in order to create a conducive environment for the peaceful and enduring resolution of the Kashmir problem. But they also expressed deep concern at the radicalization and increasing frustration among Kashmiri youth due to the insensitivity of both the state as well as the central government.
 We came to hear, understand and take guidance on the course of action we need to follow–not to broker a compromise. We share the anguish of the people of Kashmir against the Government of India’s complacent attitude towards the problems and aspirations of Kashmiri people. We also share their disappointment with the national media for paying attention to Kashmir only when anger spills out on the streets. We also agree with them that the national media presents a very prejudiced, ill informed and partisan view of the issues and problems raised by Kashmiris.
We are of the view that the Government of India will make the nation pay a heavy price for ignoring the seething anger underneath the surface calm. The situation demands consistent engagement with the people and leaders of Kashmir and a pro active peace process with Pakistan in order to find a peaceful, democratic and enduring solution to the Kashmir problem.
 For Kashmir Committee
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