Veteran Congress leader Saifuddin Soz today said Kashmiris cannot be won over by the military force, asserting that the youths of the valley cannot be dubbed as “stone pelters” as they have a reason to revolt.
“The problem today is not in Jammu and Kashmir but in the minds of the people there, who feel alienated. Youth in Kashmir cannot be termed as misguided and stone pelters.
Everyone wants to live in India but with dignity, love and affection, not with bullets,” Soz said at a conference held here by the Observer Research Foundation.
Maintaining that it is impossible to run Kashmir using military force, Soz, a former Union minister, said “the RSS narrative” is totally unacceptable to the people of Kashmir.
The objective of the conference was to look at the ‘Problems of Kashmir’ through the prism of ‘Kashmiriyat, Jamuhriyat, Insaniyat’ and national integration.
Nasir Aslam Wani of the National Conference said Kashmiris still have to prove their Indian identity to the nation every single day.
“Discussions on cow protection, intolerance is the order of the day. Hold discussions over these issues with us, also to make us feel included,” he said emphasising on the need to hold discussions with all stake holders, including the hardliners.
Holding talks hasn’t hurt anybody except egos. Remember (former Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee ji initiated talks with the Hurriyat. There should be composite talks with everybody to understand the minds of Kashmiris including the hardliners,” Wani said.
T C A Raghavan, former high commissioner of India to Pakistan, who also took part in the discussion, said the ‘k’ in Pakistan stands for Kashmir.
“Kashmir is Pakistan’s unfinished agenda. The sense of entitlement in Pakistan today has many dimensions,” he said.
Raghavan said during General Parvez Musharraf’s tenure, the capacity of the nation to bring about a consensus (over Kashmir) weakened and the most visible signs were violations across the Line of Control, terror attacks on suburban rail network in Mumbai and a number of terror strikes in India in a gap of 3-4 years.
Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, General Officer Commanding, 15th Corps, said that Pakistani military is an obstacle in the road to peace between the two neighbours.
“Unless its hold loosens, the situation cannot get any better. Pakistan’s strength is not in its military but its strategic communication. They are able to entrench their opinion deep into the minds of Indians and Kashmiris,” Hasnain said.
Gowhar Geelani, a journalist from Srinagar, said, “the problem is the mindset in Delhi vis-a-vis Srinagar which has remained frozen for seasons.”
“Problems emanate from Delhi and Pakistan takes advantage of internal skirmishes,” he said.