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58 per cent willing to accept LoC as permanent border

india Updated: May 28, 2010 19:01 IST
Arun Joshi

A myth has been exploded that the people in Kashmir were against making Line of Control as permanent border between two parts of Jammu and Kashmir. A survey by a UK based think tank has discovered that 58 per cent of the people were in favour of that.

Those surveyed on either side of the 744-km LoC that divides the Himalayan state between India and Pakistan said that the LoC be made a permanent border, but with lot of relaxation on the borderline.

Robert Bradrock, a visiting senior research fellow at King’s College, London in his study, “Kashmir: Paths to Peace “for Chatham House, where he works as an associate fellow, that a majority of the people were in favour of the LoC being made permanent border.

“Overall, a majority of the total population, 58 per cent were prepared to accept the LoC as a permanent border if it could be liberalized for people and/or trade to move across it freely, and a further 27 per cent were in favour of it in its current form.”

This survey vindicates Kashmir leaders like Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, who since 1990s has been advocating the line. He has been pleading for making the LoC as a permanent border.

Farooq’s argument all along has been that “converting the LoC into a permanent border was the best solution to Kashmir crisis.”

It had also formed a critical part of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf's four point formula on Kashmir-making the borders irrelevant.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had proposed of LoC merely a “line on the map”.

The study which addressed a series of questions, including the approach of the people of this state toward becoming independent, joining India or Pakistan, found out from among 3,774 respondents on both sides of the LoC.

The study has also found strong support for the withdrawal of all sorts of weapons including troops from both sides of the LoC. A majority of 56 per cent are in favour of this.