Vested interests blamed for prolonging mess in Kashmir
6 August 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: There are some vested interests amongst policy makers and decision takers who are not allowing peace to return to trouble torn Jammu and Kashmir, and civil society must react so that such elements can be identified and isolated. This was opined by majority of the participants in a round-table discussion on ‘Peace Process in Jammu and Kashmir Role of Civil Society’, organised by Special Assistance Programme (SAP) of Department of Political Science in Jammu University, here today. Majority of the speakers held politicians responsible for ongoing trouble in the State and exhorted civil society to come forward to play a pro-active role in the peace process. 'It is a fact that politicians are not allowing peace to return to J&K because of their vested political interests and hence civil society should play a pro-active role so that a lesson can be taught to the enemies of peace,' said former Director General of J&K Police, M M Khajooria. Major General (Retd) Jagdish Singh Jamwal said that politicians will be loosers if peace comes back to the State. ' Kashmir has become a huge industry of vested interests who have kept the pot boiling and took the emotional pitch to keep it unresolved,' he alleged. However, Gen Jamwal added, civil society can throw such vested interests out of the process and this is must to be done for return of peace. Mr Balraj Puri talked about intra- regional problems and nature of of societies and identities in Jammu and Kashmir State. Speaking about diversities in J&K State, he argued that the problem should be seen beyond Kashmir. 'Need of the hour is to take into cognizance the diverse identities and divergent political aspirations within the State,' he emphasised. Prof Posh Charak also opined that there are some invisible vested interests who are interested to keep the vexed issue unresolved. 'These enemies of peace are among ruling elite, administration and political establishments,' she added and stressed that peace was not possible unless and untill a pro-active role by civil society of the State was played. Highlighting the role of civil society in peace process, Prof Rekha Chowdhary, Co-ordinator of SAP, opined that voice should be made and positive voice would surely have good reaction. Voice of extremists is being treated as voice of J&K and if civil society does not react, extremists’ voice will continued to be projected as voice of the State,’’ she explained. Noted journalist Sham Koul drew attention towards apprehensions and fear among civil society towards consequences of its playing an active role to resolve Kashmir. ' And assassination of Abdul Gani Lone by unidentified militants raised doubt over participation of civil society in the process,' he said. Pardeep Dutta, Special Correspondent, Indian Express, stressed on creation and re- construction of peace constituencies which can resist violence. 'Theatre and culture can also be used as non-violent tools for resolution of the ongoing conflict in the State,' he opined. Others who expressed their views on the issue, included Lalit Gupta, Dr Kulwant Kour and Aparna Tandon. They stressed that need of the hour was to come out of closed door discussions and act. In his concluding remarks, former Director General of Information Department, J&K, Satti Sahni expressed his pleasure over the discussion and said,'it is a co-existence that peace and civil society are being discussed on the day on which 75,000 civilians were killed in an atomic strike on Hiroshima. Besides expressing their thought provoking views on the role of civil society for peace in J&K, some speakers also sought to draw attention towards apprehensions and questions over the peace process.