The spate of letters on the Open Letter from the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq shows how opinions vary on the issue of whether those living in Kashmir have a different identity from the rest of us in India.

Readers’ reactions remind me of an incident that happened to me in 1968, when I was representing Osmania University (Hyderabad) at the All-India University Students Mock Parliament in New Delhi. During a break, participants, about 100 of us, strolled over to the sprawling lawns where the Mock Parliament was being staged (I cannot recollect the name of the building). Our group, of boys and girls, soon began chatting and for some reason we began to talk about what it meant being an Indian. This provoked one of the girls to retort “no, I am a Kashmiri,” to the amazement of the rest of us. The point I am trying to make is that Kashmiris have always been particular about their identity. Though they consider themselves Indian in a demographic sense, they do seem to want to hold onto their Kashmiri identity.

Syed Qamar Hasan,

Hyderabad

As a number of readers have pointed out, Mr. Farooq has used language that is divisive. It appears as though there are a number of Indians who are concerned about Kashmir being a part of India, but where does that concern vanish when people are brutalised and manhandled in Kashmir by the security forces?

Many readers do not understand how a common person in Kashmir feels.

Basharat,

Tallab Tillo, Jammu

Mr. Farooq has made it clear that he can never remain a part of India in mind and in heart. If he changes this stance of his and tries to make sincere efforts at integrating himself with India, he can be assured that all Indians will support him wholeheartedly and help him resolve all issues that affect the people of Kashmir.

K.S. Jaya Kumar,

Thiruvananthapuram

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