Stop Force And Stone Throwing Will Stop: Kupwara People22 December 2010
Srinagar: Hundreds of people on Wednesday took a pledge at Batagund in Kupwara that they would not throw stones if there was an assurance that the security forces would not use force against them. They made an impassioned plea for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue even as they maintained that they were for “azadi.” Organised by Independent MLA Sheikh Rashid, it was the first public meeting the Centre's interlocutors on Kashmir had with the people since their appointment in October. In their direct interaction with Dileep Padgaonkar and Radha Kumar, the people said they wanted to “live a dignified and honourable life.” “We pledge that we will not pelt stones as long as you move for a graceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and protect human rights,” they said with one voice in response to Mr. Rashid's call. “You have to behave as a civilised country and the police and security forces should not kill us for even peacefully voicing our concerns,” they said. The people alleged that the Government of India had adopted only a “policy of deception for the last 60 years and this is the time to change it.” Mr. Rashid impressed upon New Delhi the need to initiate talks with militants for finding a durable solution. “The men with guns in their hands should also be included in dialogue.” Both the ruling National Conference and the Opposition People's Democratic Party should find a common ground for resolution of Kashmir issue. “The dominant voice at the meeting was for Azadi,” the Langete MLA told The Hindu. Terming the meeting “remarkable,” Prof. Radha Kumar said: “I think communication is the big problem and we realised it today.” She assured the people that their concern would be conveyed to the Government of India. She asserted that the Centre was committed to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and “we are also committed to working towards that.” The people were ready to work for peace and reconciliation, which was a “good development.” “But we did hear radical voices as well,” she said. One of the interlocutors, M.M. Ansari, could not join the other two as he was indisposed. The interlocutors would return to Delhi on Thursday.