An 11-member delegation of civil society and thinkers on Sunday concluded its three-day Kashmir valley visit with one assertion: work on confidence building measures put forth by separatists and resume composite dialogue with Pakistan.
The delegation --- with politicians, film makers, journalists and civil society members in it --- met moderate Hurriyat Conference constituent National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan at his residence in uptown Srinagar.
Khan stressed the need to work on the confidence building measures put forth by the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference and help change ground situation before initiating any dialogue process.
“There is need to look into laws like Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Powers Act besides working on troop withdrawal. There is also issue of release of political prisoners which need to be taken into consideration,” said Lok Jan Shakti chief and Member Parliament Ram Vilas Paswan, who headed the delegation, in a press conference before leaving for New Delhi.
Most of the suggestions made by the delegation were from the pre-conditions laid by the Mirwaiz and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for talks. While the Mirwaiz has suggested four-point demand, Geelani has put forth five-point proposal. The main difference in the two proposals is Geelani’s demand to declare Kashmir an international dispute.
The delegation members also demanded enquiry into the killing of 112 people, mainly youth, in the recent unrest sparked off by the death of a teenager on June 11 in police action in Srinagar.
“Those killed were not terrorists or Pakistanis. We need to have an enquiry into the killing. If people are killed in Punjab or Haryana, the whole state machinery gears up but we do not see the same concern in Jammu and Kashmir,” said the delegation members.
The delegation also stressed on the need to engage separatist and Pakistan. “There is need to resume composite dialogue with Pakistan,” said Paswan while asking India to engage separatist leadership in talks.
The delegation members were of opinion that “the true picture of Kashmir remains vague before Indian masses”.
The delegation, which included D. Raja, Nageshwara Rao, journalist Seema Mustafa and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, met leaders of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conferences, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, during their visit and others.
“There may be a difference of opinion on whether Kashmir is a dispute or an integral part of India. At least a beginning can be made by discussing issues like demilitrisation, repealing of some laws and releasing political prisoners,” said Paswan.