Mori Poll: Kashmiris Reject War Over Kashmir

01 June 2002

Nine Kashmiris in ten oppose the state of Jammu and Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnic group. The vast majority of Kashmiris oppose the prospect of war between India and Pakistan as a means to establish a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir, preferring the option of democratic elections. They also believe the unique cultural identity of the region should be preserved in any long-term solution. The findings of a poll conducted by MORI were released to a news conference on Thursday 30th May 2002. Professor Robert M. Worcestor, Chairman of MORI, presented the findings. Lord Avebury leads the group of supporters of peace in Kashmir who commissioned the poll.

Kashmiris Reject War in Favour of Democratic Means

The vast majority of Kashmiris oppose India and Pakistan going to war to find a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir and believe the correct way to bring peace to the region is through democratic elections by ending violence and economic development.

They also believe the unique cultural identity of the region should be preserved in any long-term solution, and there is virtually no support for the state of Jammu and Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnic group.

These are the main findings to emerge from a poll conducted by the independent market research company, MORI International, at the end of April (20-28 April 2002), just before the start of the recent escalation of conflict in the region.

Interviews were conducted in the Jammu and the surrounding rural areas, Srinagar and its surrounding rural areas and in Leh. Interviewers were set quotas for sex and religion (assessed by the interviewer) to match the population of each region.

Although the vast majority in Jammu and Leh believe the correct way to bring about peace is through democratic elections, opinions are more evenly divided in and around Srinagar, with a bare majority (52 per cent) agreeing with this view. Nevertheless, the vast majority - 76 per cent- of those in the Srinagar region believe India and Pakistan should not go to war to bring about a permanent solution. There is a general consensus across the regions that it is not possible to hold democratic elections while violence continues - 65 per cent agree while 34 per cent disagree.

A very clear majority of the population - 65 per cent believes the presence of foreign militants in Jammu and Kashmir is damaging to the Kashmir cause, and most of the rest take the view that it is neither damaging nor helpful.

Overall two thirds of people in Jammu and Kashmir take the view that Pakistan's involvement in the region for the last ten years has been bad. Only 15 per cent believe it has been good, while 18 per cent say it has made no real difference.

On the issue of citizenship, overall 61 per cent said they felt they would be better off politically and economically as an Indian citizen and only 6 per cent as a Pakistani citizen, but 33 per cent said they didn't know.

A suggestion that most people do not feel that the current political parties have the solution to the problems in Kashmir is reflected in the fact that around half, or more, of the population in each region agree with the view that "a new political party is needed to bring about a permanent solution in Kashmir"

People in all regions are in general agreement that 'the unique cultural identity of Jammu and Kashmir - Kashmiriyat should be preserved in any long-term solution.' Overall, 81 per cent agree, including 76 per cent in Srinagar and 81 per cent in Jammu.

There is also widespread consensus on the types of proposals which will help to bring about peace in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 85 per cent of the population, including at least 75 per cent in each region, think the following will help to bring about peace:

The critical role people see for economic development in helping to solve the problems is further underlined by the 74 per cent who think that 'people from outside of Kashmir being encouraged to invest in the area to help rebuild Kashmir's economy and tourist industry' will help to bring peace to the state.

There is also widespread view that allowing displaced Kashmir Pandits to return to their homes in safety will help bring about peace. Views are mixed on the likely impact of 'People in Jammu and Kashmir having the freedom to travel in both directions across the Line of Control'. Those in and around Srinagar and Leh generally feel this would help to bring peace while those in Jammu take the opposite view.

An overwhelming 92 per cent opposed the state of Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnicity. There was also overwhelming support - 91 per cent - for a forum in which Kashmiris from both sides of the Line of Control can discuss common interests, A clear majority - 70 per cent - also supported the borders between Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Indian Kashmir being opened for much more trade and cultural exchange. However, while the views in Srinagar and Leh were very decisive - over 90 per cent support - those in Jammu were much more balanced - 47 per cent support, 53 per cent oppose. Views were also split on the issue of granting more autonomy to Kashmir. Overall 55 per cent supported 'India and Pakistan granting as much autonomy as they can to both sides of Kashmir to govern their own affairs. However, while the majority in Srinagar and Leh supported this, the majority in Jammu opposed this policy.

There were also mixed views about the role and impact of the security forces. In Srinagar and Leh, at least nine out of ten believed that security forces scaling down their operations in Jammu and Kashmir would help to bring peace, whereas in Jammu opinions were reversed.

There are clearly different perceptions of the behaviour of the security forces. Nobody who was interviewed in Leh or Jammu believed human rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are widespread, whereas in Srinagar 64 per cent of the population believe they are widespread.

Perceptions are different with respect to human rights violations by militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir. 96 per cent of those in Jammu believe such violations are widespread whereas only 2 per cent of those in Srinagar believe they are widespread (although 33 per cent believe they are 'occasional').

Technical Note

Methodology : Fieldwork was carried out by FACTS Worldwide, MORI's affiliate company in India, between 20-28 April 2002. In total, 850 interviews were completed, face-to-face, with adults aged 16+ across 55 localities within Jammu and Kashmir. This comprised 22 localities in Jammu city, 20 in Srinagar city and 6 in Leh (urban areas), as well as in 3 villages around Jammu and 4 villages around Srinagar (rural areas).

Quotas were set by gender, religion (assessed by observation) and locality, according to the known population profile of the region. A random selection procedure was used to select individual respondents.

Sample Profile

The following table details the profile of respondents by locality and religion:

Breakdown by religion (observed)

Locality Total interviews Muslim Hindu Sikh Buddhist Christian
Srinagar 300 292 (97 per cent) 8 (3 per cent) - - -
Villages near
60 58 (97 per cent) 2 (3 per cent) - - -
Jammu 344 103 (30 per cent) 229 (67 per cent) 7 (2 per cent) 1 (* per cent) 4 (1 per cent)
Villages near Jammu 71 21 (30 per cent) 50 (70 per cent) - - -
Leh 75 35 (47 per cent) 4 (5 per cent) - 36 (48 per cent) -
Total 850 509 (60 per cent) 293 (34 per cent) 7 (1 per cent) 37 (4 per cent) 4 (* per cent)

Quotas were based on 1981 Census data (population in 1,000s).

Total Population Muslim Hindu Sikh Buddhist Christian
Kashmir Valley (Srinagar & surrounding areas) 3,102 2,977 (96 per cent) 125 (4 per cent) - 0.2 (* per cent) -
Jammu region 2,717 805 (30 per cent) 1,803 (66 per cent) 100 (4 per cent) 1 (* per cent) 8 (* per cent)
Ladakh (incl. Leh) 134 62 (46 per cent) 4 (3 per cent) - 68 (51 per cent) -
Total 65 per cent 32 per cent 2 per cent 1 per cent * per cent

Statistical Reliability
The sampling tolerances that apply to the percentage results in this report are given below. This table shows the possible variation that might be anticipated because a sample, rather than the entire population, was interviewed. As indicated, sampling tolerances vary with the size of the sample and the size of percentage results. The confidence intervals take no account of design effects and, of course, there were certain areas in each region we did not conduct interviews.

Approximate sampling tolerances applicable to percentages at or near these levels (at the 95 per cent confidence level)
Base: 10 per cent or 90 per cent 30 per cent or 70 per cent 50 per cent
850 (total) 2 3 3
415 (Jammu region) 3 4 5
360 (Srinagar region) 3 5 5
75 (Leh) 7 10 11
Source : MORI

For example, for a question where 50 per cent of the people in a sample of 850 respond with a particular answer, the chances are 95 in 100 that this result would not vary more than 3 percentage points, plus or minus, from the result that would have been obtained from a census of the entire population using the same procedures.

Tolerances are also involved in the comparison of results between different elements of the sample. A difference, in other words, must be of at least a certain size to be statistically significant. The following table is a guide to the sampling tolerances applicable to comparisons.

Differences required for significance at the 95 per cent confidence level at or near these percentages
Base 10 per cent or 90 per cent 30 per cent or 70 per cent 50 per cent
432 (Men) and 418 (Women) 4 6 7
415 (Jammu region) and 360 (Srinagar region) 4 7 7
415 (Jammu region) and 75 (Leh) 7 11 12
360 (Srinagar region) and 75 (Leh) 8 12 13
Source: MORI
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