The open letter from the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in The Hindu, “‘Together we will be able to find some way to take a historic step’” (April 8), was sincere; one could relate to his appeal. But the undercurrent in the tone holds out a threat. Mr. Farooq has repeatedly appealed to the moral conscience of the people of India. But what happened to his moral authority he often exerts in his “sermons” in the Kashmir Valley, when Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homeland?
After going through the letter, I am compelled to spell out “our” apprehensions. Not once did I find any mention of “terrorism” in the letter. The government of India could have handled the delicate Kashmir issue in a more proactive manner involving all stakeholders and with a clear strategy. Human rights violations in the State should be dealt with using an iron hand.
The letter was an absolute disappointment for me, as an Indian Army officer. Would Mr. Farooq clarify a few issues? If he means well, why has he not addressed the armed secessionists, asking them to shun violence in Kashmir? What are his views on the subhuman conditions of the people of PoK and the Northern Areas? Why does he not exhort Pakistan to respect their basic rights? While he wants the people of India — he makes it clear that he is not one of them — to convince “their” elected leaders to develop a peace process in Kashmir that is immune to domestic politics and power tussles, can he vouch for his actions and reactions thus far, as being above Kashmiri domestic politics and power tussles? What is his way forward in rehabilitating Kashmiri Pandits, who along with the Buddhist population, appear to be outside his definition of Kashmiris? His letter would have made better sense and had better credibility had he also addressed the Pakistanis and the terrorists besides “you Indians”, when according to him, there are three parties to the dispute.
The letter should have been addressed to the Pakistan government and its citizens. The Hurriyat Conference leader must accept that Kashmir is a part of India and work towards steps to integrate the region with India. The letter only evoked in me deep anger, and an urge to ask him to become a Pakistani citizen.
This refers to the report, “Govt. cautious on Mirwaiz offer” (April 9). The response of the government has been on expected lines. Any resolution of the Kashmir issue has to be within India’s constitutional framework. Mr. Farooq blaming India for the sufferings of people in the State is something that cannot be stomached. Pakistan has sponsored terrorism in the Valley for decades. If he asks why there is a need for the state to spend crores of rupees on military initiatives rather than on development, the answer lies in the fact that India has to be able to tackle the terror machine that lies across the border. Democracy is the way out to change the face of a State that will always be an integral part of India.