Are free and fair elections possible in a combined Kashmir, or anywhere in India ?

I am tired of the voices that talk about collective self determination of the people of the both the Indian side and the Pakistani side of Kashmr, without even once looking at the consequences of such an election. As usual we are addicted to key words that stop us form thinking beyond. As if democracy is the sweet mantra for all ills of society. Democracy in all of India is a corrupted, uncomfortable form, and we know that. And it is no different in Kashmir and worse in Pakistan.
If you announce an election today in a combined Kashmir, it is the surest way to a nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan as opposing forces in Pakistan, in India and within Kashmir jockey , threaten, kill and burn to ensure that the power structures comes to them.
Why are the liberal voices so bright, analytical and yet so naive ??? Or do they just choose to be impractical because they actually will never take responsibility for consequences ? Consider this …


If elections were announced today in both Kashmirs , every political, every sect within a political party will attempt to take advantage of the issue – the Hindutva parties will set Indian aflame – thousands will be killed, the separatists forces in Kashmir will begin a campaign of terror, terrorizing the people int a submission to their will. Taliban will swifty move in the Pakistani Kashmir – it will be their new haven – their new centre of operations, and then into the rest fo the valley. Ladakh, and Jammu will want to break away from the state of Kashmir and within Ladakh, Kargill will want t break away into separate state.
We will be looking at the balkanization of first India’s Northern parts, then India’s Eastern parts – and how long before there is a a Tamil Nation and a Maharatha nation carved out. You really think that an election in Kashmir will contain all the violence in Kashmir itself ? It will spread to Mumbai at the flick of an eyelid.
The ghosts of Partition will revisit us. Millions will die, and what the colonists did to us will be repeated by our own inabilities and corrupt practices.
So lets stop this talk now. If the people of Kashmir are to be given right to self determination, then first everything must be normalized. Kashmiri elections must be contested form a situation of peace and not from a situation of war. There has to be a clearly worked out, UN approved, agenda for the next (at least) 5 years of creating an atmosphere allowing the two kashmiris to come together. Pakistan, China, India, the US and the UN have to come to the table to agree.
Only once there is peace, only when the army is no longer needed on either side, only when there a return to prosperity and hope, can there be a free and fair election in Kasmir.
Perssonally I agree that under those circumstances, if Kasmir decides to be an in dependent nation, then India, China and Pakistan must sign an accord to protect it’s sovereignty. Or we are creating a kashmir that will turn into another Aghanistan, or an Arunachal Pradesh that will turn into another Cambodia.
Remember that India was never one country, it was a series of princely states that came together and parted on their own whims. It is still fundamentally that – and if that is the nature of India – then is better to be more like Europe ? 10 countries under a common market ?
Shekhar

51 Responses to “Are free and fair elections possible in a combined Kashmir, or anywhere in India ?”

  1. :) says:

    shekhar…….at the risk of sounding naive…
    do free and fair elections exist ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD anymore…….?
    is anyone interested in the upliftment of kashmir………besides the poor locals ? does india or pakistan give a damn beyond the power play ? isnt it an innocent dream to see the revival of kashmir in the midst of such hatred ?

  2. :) says:

    responsibility for consequences comes with allocation……..which in turn requires unbiased communication.
    if china, pakistan and india are noble enough to sign an accord to protect kashmir’s sovereignity and not fight like greedy dogs over it……..would kashmir be in the mess it is in ?
    it took an indira gandhi to play protector to bangla desh against pakistan…….but is there anyone today who has the foresight or the heart to do the same for our beautiful kashmir which is NOT even another country !

  3. Pooja says:

    And do you really believe it is that simple?
    *If the people of Kashmir are to be given right to self determination, then first everything must be normalized.
    How do you propose that happen, and peace be returned to Kashmir?
    *There has to be a clearly worked out, UN approved, agenda for the next (at least) 5 years of creating an atmosphere allowing the two kashmiris to come together.
    And who rules administratively in the meanwhile?
    I admire and appreciate your concern, but your suggestion seems a bit simplistic.
    The Kashmir issue is by now so complex and so enshrined in history, that it is difficult to even fully comprehend it, especially for an outsider like me. That a solution is urgently required is a given, and that calls for the forces involved to leave the past behind and start afresh. Not an easy thing to do, especially for the Kashmiris who have little faith in institutions that are dysfunctional, and political forces who all seem to have their own agenda.
    *Pakistan, China, India, the US and the UN have to come to the table to agree.
    Are these the only people involved? When you say India, do you mean the Indian government at the Centre? What about the political parties active in Kashmir? The separatist leaders who claim support on the ground? And all the others who claim to be representatives of the people of Kashmir? Will they not want to be a part of this process? They are part of the problem of Kashmir, how can they possibly not be a part of the solution. Let us suppose for a minute that the countries you speak of manage to come sit together to discuss bringing about normalcy in Kashmir. Will all the above mentioned automatically fall in line?
    I wish I could provide a way forward like you have attempted, instead of only pointing out what I think are possible flaws in your argument. I want as earnestly as you, that peace return to every strife torn part of the country, as much in the NE as in Kashmir, and for that matter in the states troubled by Naxalite forces. All of these movements arose as a result of the dissatisfaction with governance and the machinery of democracy (or so is my conclusion from all that I know.) Maybe the liberals are not wrong in believing that democracy will eventually be the answer. A free and fair democracy though, with proportional representation of all sections of society and efficient institutions of governance. A utopian thought!

  4. Sree says:

    Very well said . Completely agree with your perspective on Kashmir. I honestly feel that over last 60 years of Indian occupation of Kashmir resulted in nothing but huge defense bill every month. I wonder what is Kashmir’s socio or economic contribution to India in last 60 years… nothing… probably if any it is tens of thousands of Indian Soldiers either getting killed or killing themselves. On the other hand, India will be a better and stronger country, if we get rid of such a troubling state and find a way to protect ourselves from these guys crossing over and creating troubles again.
    Some might argue that it is India which contributed to the present status of kashmiris, hence it is our responsibility to solve the all of their problems. But they never consider themselves as Indians in the first place. So I suggest let them realize their dream of having a separate state, may then suddenly golden drops of wisdom and wealth comes from heaven and over the night they become very rich…. such an idiots…I sincerely wonder what exactly does the freedom mean to these guys?? Explain me Shekhar, what are the consequences of having freedom..what will change for an ordinary Kashimiri?
    Sree

  5. Koizen says:

    Why would we want China? And why would we give even an inch of land to Pakis? Can they be trusted in first place? Am afraid NOT! And even if as you say make Kashmir as ‘Dependent nation’do you think that peace will prevail? Am afraid NOT.
    As far as rigging in elections is concerned, yes its there everywhere and in any country. Actually both India and Pakistan has done enough damage to that part of Kashmir that it now seems beyond repair and sadly Kashmiris are suffering. But the idea of China getting involved is rather a humor isnt it? We already have problems elsewhere at the border with China with maps and that will eventually blow into another problem.
    Elections are needed despite politicians doing all in their might because eventually thats the end of or part of democracy till new govt. is formed and till next elections are held. Only time will tell the soulution of this particular event.

  6. brahmastra says:

    Its too late for any dialogues now. The lines are drawn, and its time to conclude one way or another. Actually, this has happened a long time back, it has just been procrastinated at a collective level. And in the same vein, even though I was initially quite opposed to the US going into the middle-east, in hindsight that direction makes more sense in the bigger picture. Most of the liberals just come out appearing like kids with wishful thinking not aligned with harsh realities.
    And how could anyone accept the collective determination by the people of Kashmir when most of the Hindu voices have been driven out of there through the cunning strategies of the separatists? You can weigh the Hindutva parties in the same scale as the other fanatics all you want, but rest assured that your future survival is going to depend on them. None of these liberals and pseudo-secularists are going to come to the rescue from the sidelines when the terrorism accelerates and these separatist fanatics start stretching that inch to a mile. Only people like Modi can save India.

  7. brahmastra says:

    And..in the case of the US and UK, this fear of terrorism was probably oversold and was really not as much a matter of survival as it was of maintaining the superpower status….but in the case of India, it is as real and basic as it gets.

  8. Ajit says:

    Talks are just talks, aren’t they??
    Nobody is naive here, it’s a useful method to buy time. in any case, I don’t think either nation is courageous enough to hold elections in Kashmir, even when the circumstances are conducive for it.
    Too much bad blood and too many egos are involved here. Only the future generation may be able to think in an unbiased manner and work towards a feasible solution to the Kashmir problem.
    Our role is to ensure that the future generation is not brainwashed with stories of how, over the years, either nation had been unfair to each other.

  9. Preeti says:

    I completely agree with your point that any referendum or self determination as you call it should be from a situation of peace and not war. The whole point is that the peace is so elusive and does not seem probable in the near future that this whole discussion could be an exercise in futility. And as usual the innocent suffer.

  10. it’s too late in the day for us indians to wake up to the fact that nationalism is an imported concept, manufactured in europe in the eighteenth century. now that it has been imported and customised and become part of our political ehtos, we must do everything in our power to sustain it.
    kashmir will continue to remain a flash point till the impossible happens ie till we have a totally corruption free polity, till every political party thinks in a genuinely secular manner and vow not to play the communal card ever, till we have statesmen instead of politicians, till – – , till – – – – till – – –
    will such a day ever dawn on India?

  11. brahmastra says:

    Most people keep dwelling on surface level stuff of important issues as this, and that is why they never get solved. How come no one has mentioned the fanaticism of Islamic separatists here? That is the root problem in Kashmir.
    It is quite simple you see..Kashmir never was so complex..the state had always been a Hindu state, its name is also derived from the Hindu Rishi Kashyapa who is supposed to have actually developed the land and its infrastructure many thousands of years ago. A majorty of these muslims in India and Pakistan are converts from the Mughal times…and Kashmir is no exception. Hindus had always been in majority there until they were systematically and violently removed, and the rulers of Kashmir were also Hindu who made the most logical decision of uniting with Hindu-majority India. So where does the reasoning ever arise of Kashmir being a conflicted land? Why does everyone so conveniently forget that Islamic expansionism is the main culprit here?
    All this talk..people of Kashmir need this, govt didn’t do this, need democracy..blah blah. You are missing the point..go after the root..remove these fanatic expansionist ideologies and things will fall in place.
    Put a 100,000 troops with comprehensive air support, etc. at critical points on the LoC, inject a fierce Mossad-type secret service group into the region to smoke out the likes of Yasin Malik and Hurriyat hardliners, and enforce a heavy crackdown on this separatist movement with a mix of combat and media propaganda strategies..the ordinary hindus and muslims will thank you for it. What is needed in India at this time is a fierce leader who can see things in reality rather than this emerging self-destructive mix of pretentious pseudo-intellectual wannabes and dumb corrupt politicians.
    The Jews had to go through a painful holocaust to wake up and organize themselves..hope the Hindus (and Indians as a whole) don’t wait until something of that magnitude starts happening.

  12. Himanshu says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    Free and fair elections are not the solution. The real issue to be fixed is who gets the ticket to contest – if candidates from either party are not going to keep people’s interest as a priority, then it does not matter who wins. The voters have little or no say in who gets the ticket – they just have to choose one of the 2-3 put in from of them. If we need to solve the local, state and national political makeup the real place to fix it is at the nomination level.
    Best Regards,
    Himanshu

  13. :) says:

    good morning shekhar……..
    it is raining this morning and so somehow i was drawn to the more beautiful aspects of possibilities rather than the cruelty and violence the ill fated kashmir is being subjected to.
    switzerland is what came to mind shekhar…… after all it is the european cousin of kashmir is’nt it ? cant help drawing parrallels here except for the fate of both……..where one’s beauty is developed to its fullest and is drawing people worldwide and in the process is also one of the richest countries in the world thanks to the support of the european coordination in building it to its present stature……..if people were to destroy it rather than nurture it, then it would be equally ill fated ! after all if you convert a paradise on earth, a beautiful gift of God……into a war zone then not even God can help anymore !
    ………yet, the opposite is the case of kashmir…….thanks to the barbaric instincts that are at play………..while switzerland is being nurtured and its beauty enhanced even more than what God provided………kashmir, which in my opinion was even MORE beautiful than switzerland is being raped and pillaged by demented and indifferent…….. to callous nation heads.

  14. Mieke says:

    Perhaps it would be a very good idea to listen to Michele Obama’s speech about the American dream:
    http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2008/08/25/sot.michelle.obama.history.cnn
    We here in Europe have understood this too after worldwar II and have been building a cooperation of nations,the European Community. It is still in its infancy because those things need lots of time. And it goes with ups and downs, just like in the U.S.
    Am not telling the U.S. has been such a very good example of the American dream the past 8 years but the vision of its founding fathers in itself is a very inspirational one.
    And that is what Michele is talking about. She may become the inspiration of many.
    Mieke

  15. DQ says:

    Do or die policy kar dena chahiye!!
    .
    .
    ura do sabko, khud bhi urenge, tukro mei urne se acha hai ek baar hi ura do ..
    ya khud urr jaynege ya ura dalenge sabko!!
    Errm, Good morning Shekhar!!

  16. Izaq Singh says:

    Mr. Kapur!
    Wut do u mean by free ….. and …fair …..election?
    Well, nothing is free and nothing is fair in this region.
    Even if so called free and fare elections are being held there, people will again elect the same stupid leaders who does not know how to govern.
    And talking about the other part of Kashmir(so called POK), how come elections could be held there, when there own govt. at the centre is in minority stature? Mr. Nawaj Sharif must be in close alliance with the Left parties of India. He must be learning new Tactics of how to take away the life support system. OH ! these two countries r so alike !
    And why the hell we invite China, U.S. and U.N.?………… aaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhhh…… why? To teach them the art of BOOTH CAPTURING?
    Well Mr. Kapur, do you think that this country is run by the so called elected leaders of the govt.. If so, ur wrong.
    This country is not run by those stupid beggars, this country is run by none other than the GREAT ALMIGHTY- THE GOD himself. This is his own country. This country is the soul proof to the whole planet that THE GOD does exist.
    But the time has come, as stated by the supreme court judges few weeks back, that even THE GOD CANNOT SAVE THIS COUNTRY now.
    So, the bottom line is India should just relax and have some TAJMAHAL TEA BAGS.
    (Note:- To make above comments i’m being heavily funded by the C.I.A…….errrr…… no, by the F.B.I……..naaaaaaa by George Bush himself……… errrrrrr let me confirm first:)
    IZAQ

  17. Sir,
    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Lord Acton in 1887.
    Kashmir or the matter of fact all Indian states justify this in veil of Democracy.
    Nepal is an example to consider how new equations can disturb a peaceful country however small.
    Vinod Agarwal – We weren’t cheating, we were just playing to win. Anyway, all’s fair in love and war.

  18. DQ says:

    Nasoor ko jar se kaatenge nahi
    .
    .
    tho cancer barta rehta hai
    .
    .
    politicians ka bahana, etc etc, sab khatam kar doh..usa ko bolo mind ur business!!! China ko bolo, we never interferred in ur business, so stay where you are, do business with us and enjoy ur income, let us handle our problems, bache nahi hum, jo ungli pakar pakar ke chalenge!!!
    .
    .
    take public opinion, all over india, ask for aids and extra support resources from people itself, to support the clearance of this tumour…
    .
    .
    Muslims in India have been a part of us since eternity, they have been in harmony…
    .
    .
    they are welcome
    .
    .
    but ye tamasha kashmir ka…uhu, koi bahana nahi, koi baath, koi samjhana nahi chalega
    .
    .
    laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahi manenge
    .
    .
    bahut tameez dikha chuke hum!!
    Psst on a lighter note…
    Unko keh dena kashmir ke saath dq as package milegi…woh surely chor denge kashmir!!!

  19. DQ says:

    The muslims in kashmir who shout they are pakistanis, ask them to leave simple!!!
    Jayiye apne desh, no probs, if u stay back n do drama…face the music!!
    If you are unable to enjoy the democracy of india, go to pakistan and enjoy your yourself there!!
    errm

  20. DQ says:

    From 1947
    till
    approx 1988
    there was peace and harmony among all communities and people, hindu muslim sikhs etc alike
    .
    .
    then pakistan attempted wars,
    1947
    1965
    1971
    kargil war
    to capture kashmir, by unfair means, and failed to do so…
    .
    .
    as there was more muslims in kashmir, pakistanis decided that it should be theirs,
    now one fine day they will say there are muslims all over india, so their action is going to make position of muslims in india very fragile, if this religion card is played in kashmir, it will strengthen the fanatics of both communities, hundu and muslim
    .
    .
    so intellectuals from both the communities, in india, should start discussing, how to reach, a solution, in our multi cultural and multi religious country.
    .
    Even within pakistan, those indians who left thier homes in india, and decided to go to pakistan, have still not been recognised as a part of that country, and are still called ‘Mohajirs’ and facing dicrimination in pakistan society.
    .
    .
    even from baluchistan, do not have real freedom, this implies that there is no real freedom in pakistan, as the country has not really matured enough to taste democracy and live amicably in multi ethinic, multi religious social set up.
    .
    .
    so the argument is, that, well educated kashmiri muslims, are better off with india than with pakistan.
    .
    .
    As we saw, that kashmiris on the pakistani side lack basic amenities, and mostly are illiterate.
    .
    .
    errm!!

  21. DQ says:

    The minorities of j&k state that include, kashmiri pandits, dogras, sikhs, hindu refugees from pakistan kashmir, have still not been recognised, as minotrities within the state
    .
    .
    they faced discrimination, at the hands of, muslims rulers of kashmir, over past 60 yrs, the central govt from delhi, of whatever party, congress or bjp always negotiated with muslims of kashmir, and ignored the hindu and sikh minority in the state…
    .
    this is the main reason now, that the people have stood together, in jammu, to voice thier concerns, that were not addressed in the last 60 years, by our govt.
    .
    .
    Kasmiri muslims must learn, not to insult the religion, of thier forefathers, and excersice same tolernace as they have done for centuries, and similar pattern of tolerance is being followed in other parts of india towards hindus, where hindu muslims basically live in harmony, if we can do it in other parts why not kashmir???
    .
    .

  22. brahmastra says:

    Mieke,
    Michele Obama is just another idealist without a firm grounding in reality..like many other modern-day founders of countries and preachers around the world. Some of these guys mean/t well, while most are just spewing crap to control the weak and needy minds of their people for their own vested interests.
    As long as the leaders do not take into consideration the deep aspects of the universal design such as food and consciousness, reincarnation, inner peace vs external gratification and such, they will only come up with half-baked temporary solutions.
    For example, the US is spending billions on healthcare, but the people are only mildly aware of the cause, which is the toxicity of the chemicals and adulterated food material that has been a prevalent culture there. Never once has any presidential candidate given this root cause any significance..all champions of half-truths.

  23. AJ says:

    Change is the law of nature
    but first and foremost is
    to change oneself,
    than only we can create the new world,
    a world more loving, liveable for all life on our planet

  24. CHANGE YES CHANGE says:

    Last week for the 2nd time recently
    Citizens got involved
    And Acted responsibily
    Sunnyvale city and staff acted
    and heard the concern for change
    in the best interest of community…
    Proud to know the City, People and efforts …
    YES CHANGE is possible
    but people have to drop self interest
    and work in the best interest of community
    One shouldn’t complain
    if One doesn’t want to be part of the change

  25. Koizen says:

    ***DQ***
    So, you start Jihad with those politicos?
    DQ is hitler queen!!!
    YA……yayyyyyyyyy…….long live….modesty blaizeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……..

  26. DQ says:

    GooOOD Mornign Shekhar…
    .
    .
    Lol **Poizen***
    urrf Koizen
    .
    .
    Lolll Maaaar dalungi kisi din lol!!
    Hilter jaise intelligence bhi bahut kamm paye jaate hai, agreed he was mentally imbalanced, but his vision is commendable!!
    .
    .
    Yu poison khilauge tho long live kaise karungi?
    LOL

  27. abhi says:

    Well, I didn’t have the patience to read through the comments. This debate has grown out of the TV studios to engage all of us, over a cup of coffee, mug of beer, a puff, a sip, a swig…and I’m almost getting tired; repeating the same arguments knowing very well that they are falling on deaf ears; And, now here!
    Kashmir has become a very complex issue to solve, with big egos at stake. I, for one, believe that the most beautiful thing and the most disarming weapon is the ability to let go of things. I do not believe in holding anything or anybody by force. (Don’t we divorce? Isn’t it better to part ways and lead a peaceful life than suffering silently or fighting forever?)
    Well, you will have your arguments woven around the reasons of State. But to hold millions of people hostages though their live for reasons of State is something so cruel. And, that is what is India doing now.
    Blame it on our politicians. Start it from Nehru. But don’t forget the Patels and ShyamaPrasad Mukharjees who manipulated Nehru and his actions. Don’t forget the soft-hindutva that our leaders have been practicing all along (and yeah, the label pseudo-secular really makes sense in that context. Our leadership from time to time has been a pro-Hindu one; not for religious reasons, but for the votes; simple arithmetic tells us that Indian politicians cannot ignore the Hindu votes.)
    And for that simple reason, while preaching secularism and minority appeasement on one hand they were silently letting the Hindu hardliners have their way with many of these issues.
    Now, tell me:
    What made Nehru and India government go back on the promises made in the accession deed?
    What prompted Sheikh Abdulla’s arrest and subsequent rigging of elections, including the most notorious one in 1987?
    Why didn’t we try and resolve the issue through proper dialogue for so many decades now? If we can engage terrorists from elsewhere in dialogues, why can’t we do it with the separatists in Kashmir? Why do people think use of force is the only option to retain Kashmir?
    Why are we silent about the human rights violations by our forces there?
    Now why did the government decide to go soft onthe agitation in Jammu while orders were given to go hard on the agitations in Kashmir? Why double standards?
    Finally,
    How long will we be able to go on like this?

    Shekhar, I understand your point about India, Pakistan, China, and the UN coming together and agreeing on protecting Kashmir…but what business does the US have there? Are we accepting that the US can play the headman’s role in the global village? (if yes, why UN then?!)

  28. Mieke says:

    Great discussion going on 🙂
    It was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jezuit and paleontologist, who predicted the Internet: a globe clothing a brain, the noösphere.
    It is the great Wonder of our times and to me it is the biggest learning school I have ever encountered.
    And the more people that are able to make use of this way of communication all over the world, the better because in this way we discover that things are everywhere the same at this moment in our world.
    We are already multicultural everywhere and the time has come to really understand that at the very base of our existance our thoughts are the same. We are thinking the same about the very basic needs of people.
    I agree with AJ, if one wants change, one has to change oneself.
    If one wants the world to be the way one envisions it then one has to live it to become true.
    It is the only way: improve the world, start with yourself, on step at a time, one person at a time.
    And that what you radiate you will receive back.
    I envisioned a “favour society” some thirty years ago. Just simply doing one another a simple favour now and then in normal life, without expecting something back, but just with good intentions. And it will always return to oneself in one way or another.
    This old saying still holds truth: who does good, meets good.
    It all starts with simple things.
    Mieke

  29. Ritu Chandra says:

    I tend to agree with Abhi.. let go!
    This Kashmir issue has been beaten to death and we continue to flog the dead horse. I somehow agree with Arundhati Roy. If Kashmir wants to go, let them go. The only thing is like Bangladesh, do not send your refugees back to India. We will not accept them. If you decide to cut off from India then you are left to your own fate. Do not SOS us when anarchy takes over.
    If the Kashmiris genuinely don’t want to be with India then what is the point in keeping them? Only for strategic purposes? Let them be responsible for their actions and consequences. If they genuninely think they can live peacefully as an independent nation, if they are self sufficient enough to survive. Good for them! And all the best!
    India has given enough lives and resources for the cause. I really don’t think it is worth it.

  30. shekhar says:

    Ritu Chanda, we must be responsible and yes we have created a mess, we have taken a society and allowed the inherent wounds to fester – every society has internal wounds but also have a healing process, but when people come from outside the internal healing process vanishes – and that is true in Iraq, in Afganistan and in Kashmir – it is our job now to bring Kashmir back stability so the internal healing processes can take over – shekhar
    for if not, the people of kashmir will merely become victims of external powerful struggles, much more than they are today leading to even more bloodshed,
    it is our responsibility and am afraid ArunDhat Roy is completely wrong,
    shekhar

  31. Rajesh Shetty says:

    Shekhar,
    This is first time I have seen Times Of India going back on their news. Next I get a breaking news email from Times Of India , I probably shoud wait for a day or two before I believe it.
    …..
    TOI Online Editor
    Dear Reader,
    In the newsletter sent earlier, the top news was about the terrorists in Jammu having released 4 hostages that included 3 children and one woman. This was based on the news flashes coming in on a day marked with rapid developments. This news was subsequently denied by the agency that first put it out. I would, therefore, request you to ignore this news item.
    It is our commitment to provide you the latest and the best information through our newsletters, but this time we were defeated by circumstances beyond our control. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused.
    Thanks and regards
    Editor

  32. Rajesh Shetty says:

    Correction to my post just submitted. Please ignore the previous one.
    Shekhar,
    This is the first time I have seen Times Of India going back on their news. Next time I get a breaking news email from Times Of India , I probably shoud wait for a day or two before I believe it.
    …..
    TOI Online Editor
    Dear Reader,
    In the newsletter sent earlier, the top news was about the terrorists in Jammu having released 4 hostages that included 3 children and one woman. This was based on the news flashes coming in on a day marked with rapid developments. This news was subsequently denied by the agency that first put it out. I would, therefore, request you to ignore this news item.
    It is our commitment to provide you the latest and the best information through our newsletters, but this time we were defeated by circumstances beyond our control. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused.
    Thanks and regards
    Editor

  33. brahmastra says:

    People are making a great mistake of equating the letting go at a personal level such as divorce, relationships, etc. with a matter of national integrity like this. They are not the same.
    What signal would it send to the rest of the separatists? That external forces can enforce religious conversions, violent ethnic cleansings and terrorism, and actually get away with a beautiful ancient land of great national heritage? this is not letting go..this is utter cowardice shown by people on the sidelines who should be put into the shoes of some of the Kashmiri Pandits. And do you think it is going to stop at Kashmir? Next will be Jammu, then Delhi..such is the nature of these expansionists..haven’t you learnt anything from recent History?
    People like Arundhati Roy, who live priveleged lives in their cozy pseudo-intellectual cocoons, need to be made to reside in Kashmir with her family among her separatist friends, and see how she likes choosing between getting converted to Islam OR having her house taken away for 1000 Rs and then sent to a refugee camp with nothing OR even worse attrocities.
    And, another issue that rang with me while reading some comments online was what this person from Jammu mentioned that opposition to transfer of the Amarnath land also had a more basic angle wherein the local muslims used to rent tents and facilities to the pilgrims for exhorbitant prices, and setting up the pre-fab structures would have kind of eliminated that.

  34. DQ says:

    Tell Arun dhat roy to go to pakistan we would be happy with out her
    .
    .
    Good One Shekhar….

  35. Ritu Chandra says:

    Shekhar, don’t you think 50 years is enough time for Kashmir to have emotionally integrated with India? It did not. Probably because it should have gone to Pakistan in the first place. If plebiscite was held within 3 months of the accession of Kashmir in 1948 this problem would not have arisen in the first place. Nehru and Krishna Menon are to blame for that. Also think of this, if Hari Singh was not a Hindu would Kashmir not have gone to Pakistan? Or maybe it would have been partitioned like Punjab and Bengal. The moot issue is that the people of Kashmir are totally alienated from India. We have spent 25 years giving special attention and resources to the area and have only succeeded in bringing the situation to the point of no return. We are in the zone of diminishing returns. In such a scenario shouldn’t we Indians just learn to let go? Give them the autonomy they seek. They know the best. They have the right to decide where they want to go. Free and fair election is a valid question, but that remains in all election scenarios. Get UN in and hold plebiscite and if they seek autonomy grant it.
    And basic constitution of India gives you a right to decide for yourself for what you want. For almost 30 years the people of Kashmir have been saying they don’t want to stay with India. And it’s not as if Kashmir has not seen a period of prosperity and peace (until the 80s everything was fine there) and that other parts of India have not seen corruption or insurgency. If anyone has a point of being ignored it is the north-east. They don’t even feel culturally integrated with the mainstream and development hasn’t even touched those areas. Joining with the India union brought little benefit to them. Yet, they are continued to be ignored because there is not much political mileage there.
    The question is how long will India and Pakistan wrestle and Kashmir continue to bleed?. Giving the region autonomy might just help this land get some peace. Partition afterall happened 60 years ago in all other areas we made a clean cut and moved on. Yes, there are scars but in another 50 years they will heal. But Kashmir is an open wound a gangrenous scar that we refuse to cut off and refuse to let heal. Sometimes, it is difficult to make the tough decision, but it needs to be made… let go.

  36. Ritu Chandra says:

    P.S I wanted to add, it is surely irresponsible for Arundhati Roy to go to a strife torn Kashmir and make the statements she did. But I think it is high time that the Indian govt. started thinking in terms of letting Kashmir go. In whatever capacity. If we step down from our stand that Kashmir is an integral part of Kashmir, we might actually be able to work out some solution with Pakistan.
    Till even a year back I felt Kashmir should be an integral part of India, but now my thinking had altered.

  37. AJ says:

    Thank You Mieke for the valuable link to precious words and your efforts …

  38. abhi says:

    Brahmastra, when you get your facts right, you will know that the Hindu rightwingers, Jan Sangh and its puppets in the Governments from time to time, have played a key role in alienating the Kashmiris psychologically from India.
    When did the so-called ethnic cleansing and mass migration of pundits out of Kashmir started? What was the role played by our governments in that?
    Mate, throw off that saffron-tinted specs, and then try and get the facts right. You will rather end up sympathising with those people in kashmir who has been going through physical and mental torture for decades now.

  39. Ritu Chandra says:

    “With Indians like this, who needs Pakistanis?”
    Brahmastra, a person who makes statements like this is one is certainly not in a position to make statements about humanitarian values. You talk of lofty ideals of Hinduism etc. The first lesson any ‘ism’ teaches you is to learn to look at a situation from all angles including the opposite parties point of view. Kashmir is an issue not only because of Pakistan but because India made fundamental goof-ups as well. One of those was to bring a reluctant Kashmir into the Indian union. Probably Kashmir needed to be partitioned like Punjab and Bengal. It would have been saved the extended blood shedding.
    Talking of being thrown out of your country and living in refugee camps – I completely sympathise with the Pandits and feel their pain. Their pain is not different from all those who suffered partition of the sub-continent. The Punjabis, Bengali and even more so Sindhis who have not been left with a homeland any more. But that was our fate. If India had not got partitioned the holocaust of partition would not have happened. But India did get partitioned and what the Kashmir Pandits are suffering is the same trauma. The seeds for this turmoil were sowed during partition.
    But yes, as Abhi mentioned you need to get your saffron-tinted glasses off for that. Nothing is going to be more humane than to give the people of Kashmir a chance to a better life.

  40. Ritu Chandra says:

    Another P.S
    Shekhar, I don’t think China and US have any business in being there in our resolution of the Kashmir issue. But yes we need UN. India and Pakistan have proved to be equally incapable, corrupt, myopic and opportunist when it has come to the Kasmiris. We need United Nations to step in.
    I also think Jammu needs to be broken off from the Kashmir part. Even if Kashmir remains a part of India Jammu should become its own administrative unit pretty much like Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

  41. :) says:

    shekhar……..after going thru so many posts it does occur as a solution to let pakistan occupied kashmir go to pak………and the indian side remains with us. much like the partition of india and pakistan itself………isnt it ? atleast that way they stand a chance of survival instead of destruction. they can finally have a chance at life instead of facing death all the time !

  42. I belong to Jammu and Kashmir…and i want Kashmir to stay with India…i knw free and fair elections is quite impossible anywhere in the world..but when pro-fundamentalist parties like PDP win along with centre led congress then offcourse you must acknowledge the involvement of the local voter…the present so called crisis is mostly over-hyped and got out of hand due to media and publicity hungary people like Yasin Malik who get arrested every other day just to appear on news…kashmir is India, and Kashmiris are Indians…

  43. AJ says:

    Here is a good example I received, care for community :
    Hello Sunnyvale Community Members:
    With temperatures expected to reach record highs, heat can become a major health problem. The City of Sunnyvale is opening a drop-in
    cooling center for the next three days at Sunnyvale Senior Center. The center will operate Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to
    8 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Anyone seeking relief from the heat may stop by the center, which is air conditioned and will provide a break from the heat. Sunnyvale
    Community Center is located at
    550 E Remington Drive. There is free parking available and the center is served by VTA Line 55.

  44. “The real problem with Kashmir started with my ancestors, the Dogras, mostly in the 19th century . By treaty, conquest or intermarriages, they created a state of 5 major units which are fundamentally very different from each other in terms of geography & ethnicity : the territory around Gilgit, which belongs basically to Central Asia; Ladhak, which is an extension of Tibet; what is today under Pakistan control around Muzzarafad, which is Punjab muslim; Jammu, which essentially belongs to Himachal Pradesh; and finally, of course the valley of Kashmir which is Indian Muslim at 95 %and also belongs to Kashmiri pandits before they had to flee.”—-“it is the exact replica of Titos Yugoslavia – — “
    That’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Yes, that was none other than Dr. Karan Singh. – who should know the root of the problem better than the son of the last Maharaja of Kashmir?
    The situation is so complex that it is unrealistic to believe that it can be solved by bullet or ballot.
    The least that the government and political parties can do is to refrain from adding fuel to the communal flames.
    That can be the first step towards finding a solution.

  45. brahmastra says:

    @ Abhi,
    Sorry mate, your claims as these are ridiculously far-fetched: “Jan Sangh and its puppets in the Governments from time to time, have played a key role in alienating the Kashmiris psychologically from India.”
    The Jan Sangh have preserved the integrity and unity of India from time to time. No king wants to give up independence and control..the Kashmiri rulers were no exception and were initially hesitant even though they were Hindu. The RSS was instrumental in getting Kashmir over to India after the tribal attacks.
    And why are you not willing to go back beyond a certain point in time to see the dynamics of the place?? It was the barbaric Mughals such as Aurangzeb and Iftihar Khan who committed all kinds of attrocities and forced conversions on the Kashmiri Hindus under their “Darul Islam” ideology. While there were some moderates and sufis who were influenced by the “Din Illahi” of Akbar but some other groups came under the influence of Akbar’s practice of organising programmes for sensuous delights and “Meena Bazaar” type pleasure outlook. As such they patronised such shameless and uncivilised activities in Kashmir and tormented Hindu women.
    It was an ancient Vedic civilization mate, founded by Rishi Kashyapa..hence the name “Kashyapa + Mira” which means the sea lake or the mountain of sage Kashyapa.
    Where do you think the muslims there came from? They are all converts. This process was started long back, and is still continuing violently and otherwise. When will the Indians see the facts as they are? This land was a Hindu-dominated land for most of its history, and right in front of us, the majority Hindus have been driven out, and the demographics altered in favour of the separatist Muslims. And now its the voice of the people? Mate, throw off your green kaleidoscope and have some sattvic saffron to get some clear vision.

  46. brahmastra…You are right in pointing out that all muslims in the valley were forcibly converted..as they all retain their original hindu pandit surnames….like bhatt,bakshi..etc..

  47. brahmastra says:

    @ Ritu
    This is not a small territorial issue for an amalgamated country as India. And the Islamic Jihadis will not stop at the borders of Kashmir. They have already started expanding into Jammu..hence the uprising.
    This is not about all muslims..i felt for those poor terrorists that got shot like dogs in the encounter in Jammu this week. God only knows what their compulsions were to get themselves so desperately holed up in such situations. These guys must be some poor tribals negotiating for their families. It is the mongrels like Mufti Mohammed, Farooq Abdullah, Yasin Malik, fanatic religious heads and Pakistani administration who need to be held accountable. People like these have corrupted Islam into a tool for warfare. If only they could see how their karma is going to come back to them, they would start meditating on the hills of Manasorvar.
    Anyway, if India lets go of Kashmir and takes the army out of there, the Pakistani Taliban are going to move in and sectarian crap will set in among them, and then across into Jammu..these jihadi tribals are in constant search of an enemy and they have no concern for ordinary lives..and all you guys are going to have to face the music of that. It doesn’t matter if India has to pour money into Kashmir, they have to maintain a strong armed presence there.

  48. brahmastra says:

    Ritu, that was cute indeed..”In a year or two, watch this space for ‘8 reasons why we should let Kashmir back in'”
    😛

  49. Neeta says:

    Shekhar,
    The solution you have outlined is the best ofcourse and it is also utopic. In my opinion, history has come a long way for it to be possible. So the best of the worst solutions to the Kashmir issue is to formalise the current partition lines of Kashmir between India, China, and Pakistan.
    To hope for a united independent peaceful Kashmir is not only utopic, it is scary. Even if Pakistan, India and China sign an agreement to uphold it’s sovereignty, it will become a haven for Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, creating greater pain to India.

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