July 2001 News

Jammu people fear rise in militancy

17 July 2001
The Times of India
The Times of India News Service

JAMMU: There is a widespread feeling here that the "failure" of the India- Pakistan talks will lead to stepping up of militant violence in the state, "which Pakistan uses as its trump card", and probably also firing along the borders. There is particular appreciation of India's stand on curbing cross-border terrorism. But it has also been noted that Pakistan has accepted that there is no military solution to what it calls the Kashmir problem. Jammu has been a catchment area for the 1947 partition refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan, refugees displaced by subsequent wars, those uprooted from the border areas by Pakistani firing. It is also now home to those who have fled from the remote areas because of terrorist acts of Pakistan-sponsored militants as well as the Hindu migrants from the Valley. All of them have a huge stake in peace between the two countries and are disappointed that the Pakistanis had 'set the tone for the talks" with the continuing border firing and the terrorist violence continuing when the talks were on. Another point being emphasised here is that Pakistan should be cut short in its "parroting" about Kashmir and the Hurriyat, by bringing home to it the truth that Jammu, Ladakh, PoK, Gilgit and Baltistan are all parts of the state and that the Hurriyat has no influence anywhere, except its limited following in the Valley. Congress leader Madan Lal Sharma, who comes from the border area of Chamb-Jourian, said "The border people (along the international border), who have only seen devastation since 1947, and two years ago were again uprooted from their villages because of the high volume of Pakistani firing, are disappointed that they cannot yet return home." BJP spokesman Nirmal Singh, however, said "The talks are not a failure because they mark a movement forward and Pakistan has accepted that there is no military solution. Also, we have sent a strong message across that we are for peace." The Jammu University law department head K.L. Bhatia said "It is a historical and ancient fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India, and Pakistan should be reminded that it (Pakistan) was carved out of India and not vice-versa, and also that PoK and the so-called northern areas are part of our state and we have not surrendered our claim to them." Former Congress MP Dharam Paul Sharma said "Musharraf was pre-decided when he came and had an absolutely closed mind. His remark about buying back Neharwali Haveli if he was expected to concede his point on Kashmir, betrayed his immaturity." Sharma stressed that Kashmir (the Valley) is not the entire state and constituted only a "fraction" of the compsite state, nor is the Hurriyat the sole representative of the state.   


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