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Is this for what 112 Kashmiris died?

This question is being asked in Jammu and Kashmir after Kashmiri separatists went gag a over the US President Barack Obama terming Kashmir as a “ long standing dispute between India and Pakistan” and read in it a recognition of the “ sacrifices” made by 112 people.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2010 23:11 IST
Arun Joshi

This question is being asked in Jammu and Kashmir after Kashmiri separatists went gag a over the US President Barack Obama terming Kashmir as a “ long standing dispute between India and Pakistan” and read in it a recognition of the “ sacrifices” made by 112 people.

A sense of deep surprise and shock has emerged in the state after the separatists rolled over the remarks of the US president . The people demanded to know whether they sacrificed so many of lives and suffered economic loss running into thousands of crores just fr this statement, which is nothing but a repeat of what the US had been saying all along.

First of all, there is nothing new in what Obama said. That has been the stated position of the United States . It has always maintained that Kashmir characterized tensions between two countries much before India and Pakistan became nuclear power in 1998. That time the then US president Bill Clinton had described Kashmir as a “ nuclear flash point”

This time, Obama said : “With respect to Kashmir, obviously this is a longstanding dispute between India and Pakistan,” he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Monday , and added : “I believe that both Pakistan and India have an interest in reducing tensions between the two countries.

The United States cannot impose a solution to these problems, but I’ve indicated to Prime Minister Singh that we are happy to play any role that the parties think is appropriate in reducing these tensions,” Obama said and reduction of tensions has been read as a substitute for the resolution of Kashmir crisis.

What has been left unread by the separatists is what Obama said about the starting point about the dialogue between India and Pakistan : “So my hope is that conversations will be taking place between the two countries. They may not start on that particular flashpoint. There may be confidence-building measures that need to take place.”. It is an echo of what India has said throughout that let all issues be discussed.

Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said that Prime Minister has made it clear again on Monday, as he referred to his statement at the press conference.

Manmohan Singh had said : “ We are committed to engage Pakistan. We are committed to resolve all outstanding issues between our two countries, including the word “K” -- we're not afraid of that.

But it is our request that you cannot simultaneously be talking and at the same time the terror machine is as active as ever before. Once Pakistan moves away from this terror-induced coercion, we will be very happy to engage productively with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues.”

And those who remember Prime Minister’s speech at the end of the second round table conference on Kashmir in Srinagar in May 2006 know it that he had underlined two dimensions- internal and external, the latter being with Pakistan.

The hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said on Monday after the joint press conference was over that Obama has endorsed our stand on Kashmir. He has not made the statement in isolation. It is the result of martyrdom of 112 youth and teenagers and unflinching sacrifices rendered by people of Kashmir particularly during the peaceful movement of the past five months.”

All parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik also spoke on the similar lines.

If that’s the case, it is being argued, then what about more than 50,000, and according to separatists double the number, who were killed in the past over 20 years. The separatists have offered no answers to these questions in their statements.