Kashmir Issue Raised At U.N Peace Summit
30 August 2000
The Asian Age
Suman Guha Mozumder
New York: The Kashmir issue that has dogged relations between India and Pakistan for more than 50 years surfaced, albeit by way of reference, at the Millennium World Peace Summit of religious and spiritual leaders here. After the address of Abdullah al Obaid, secretary-general of the World Muslim League, L.M. Singhvi, a member of the advisory council to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the summit, said there was no denying the fact that religions had often played a negative role in conflicts and disputes like Kashmir. “No one can overlook that religions of the world have been at loggerheads when there are religious riots, when terrorism claims its victims as in Kashmir,” he said. “They have even allowed themselves to colonialism, oppression, exploitation and apartheid,” he said, adding that thereby they have brought them into disrepute. “We have therefore to inculcate a new culture of peace among religions,” Mr Singhvi said. Sources said that Mr Singhvi’s reference to Kashmir came after Mr Obaid allegedly made a mention to the oppression in that Indian state during his speech in the morning. However, without mentioning any region or country, many speakers at the summit generally referred to the troubled spots in the world and stressed the need to resolve those problems of hatred and assumed superiority of one religion over another. “There is religious intolerance in many parts of the world, but the fact is that one can reach God by following any religion,” said V.R. Gauri Shankar. Mr Singhvi said that if the dialogue was to be fruitful, then it must be serious. “We have to inculcate a new culture of peace among religions and must make a treaty of permanent peace and avoid all mutual aggression,” he said. “Let us build a forum of inner and outer space of the cosmic order so that... a new constitution of humanity may transform the charter of the United Nations into a moral and spiritual charter of togetherness of justice, peace and non-violence,” he said.