Signing in to give peace a chance
24 December 2007
The Indian Express
Jammu: Political parties have been quite active in conducting signature campaigns within Jammu and Kashmir, but it is for the first time that an academic institution has joined the race and is seeking signatures of people to promote peace in the trouble-torn state. Taking cue from the United Nation declaration on culture of peace — that proclaims 2001-2010 as the decade of peace — Jammu University’s Gandhian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies has started a signature campaign, christened Harmony Signature Campaign to get the signatures of people from different walks of life for fostering peace in the state. The Gandhian Centre hopes to get 30,000 signatures by 2010 in Jammu and Kashmir. So far, the organisation has got 1,000 signatures and it intends to extend the signature campaign to Ladakh and other regions as well. Director of the Gandhian Centre, Dr Anurag Gangal, said, “With the help of clerical staff and some volunteers we have got 1,000 signatures. After the campaign is over, its findings will be submitted to the UN apprising it of the support for peace in a state which was rife with violence. This signature campaign has no political overtones. It is a pledge by people for restoration of peace in the state.” Gandhian Centre has printed the peace campaign forms and on each form it gets signatures of 10 people with their addresses and contact numbers. Centre plans to hold an interaction with all those people who have pledged peace, by signing the forms, at Jammu University for building ‘a culture of peace and non violence in the state’. The statements of pledge for the Harmony Signature Campaign was based on the UN declaration with some state specific pledges also forming its part. The campaign makes people commit towards involving the civil society in peace initiatives for non violent lifestyle, improve on the approach which failed to restore peace, aspire the upholding of human rights of people and to give utmost importance to the rule of law and the path of truth. The state specific commitments, which form part of the signature campaign, are promotion of the state-wide coalition of peace seekers, supporting the introduction of peace and non violence as compulsory subjects in all classes and encouraging youth to constructively promote a culture of peace and non violence in the state.