Valley mood swings away from US role in talks
20 April 2004
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: After the war on Iraq, the Muslim dominated Valley no longer trusts the US to provide a solution to the Kashmir crisis. Anti-Americanism has swept the Islamic world since the war and Kashmir is no exception. Moreover, President Bush's support to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon who plans to retain some settlements in the West Bank in Palestine are viewed with deep suspicion here. The common people say Kashmir is a “problem” and needs immediate solution. But the solutions that the US has sought for Iraq and Palestine have dismayed the people here. The support for India and Pakistan resolving the issue without US intervention is growing by the day here. This attitude is in contrast to the cries for US intervention in the 1990s when the separatists would often remind the US of its status as the sole superpower and seek its intervention. Kashmiri separatists would often say that it is the duty of US to pressurise India to seek a solution. Now, the separatists are mute on this. They also have sensed the strong anti- American wave among Muslims in the Valley. “When India and Pakistan have the capability to resolve their differences, why should America be involved?' says Mohammad Hanief of Chanpora, a science graduate but drives an auto-rickshaw. University student Fayaz Ahmad feels the US has not been able to “play a just role in the West Asian conflict. The way it has occupied Iraq has opened our eyes to the truth”. This sentiment is a blow to the often repeated American stand that it wants a Kashmir solution as per the wishes of the people of the state. That Kashmiris were seeking America's exclusion from the Kashmiri frame was first observed when Maulana Abbas Ansari became chairman of the Hurriyat Conference last year. He had called for a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the crisis with active Kashmiri participation.