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Need to dispel myths about Kashmir

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Former J&K Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Beig (standing left), former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and special envoy to the Prime Minister Shyam Saran during a discussion on a book `A J&K Primer' by B.G. Verghese in New Delhi on Wednesday. Ph oto: PTI
Former J&K Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Beig (standing left), former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and special envoy to the Prime Minister Shyam Saran during a discussion on a book `A J&K Primer' by B.G. Verghese in New Delhi on Wednesday. Ph oto: PTI

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Beig on Wednesday said there was a need to dispel several myths about Kashmir and clear mistrust if a peaceful and lasting solution to the Kashmir problem was to be found.

Speaking at a discussion on the book "A J&K Primer" by eminent journalist B.G. Verghese at India International Centre here, Dr. Abdullah said people with vested interests in Delhi had always harboured suspicions about the Kashmiris. "I am concerned not only about the problem of Kashmir but about the secular credentials of India. This problem is creating a divide between the Hindus and Muslims all over the country," said Dr. Abdullah.

Dr. Abdullah also said he wanted to see the Prime Minister's promise of zero-tolerance policy on human rights violations being implemented in J & K.

Earlier, Mr. Beig said there were several myths about various aspects of the Kashmir problem. The history of Kashmir had been treacherous and the will of the people had been thwarted from time to time, he added. Blaming the Centre for having failed to evolve a coherent national policy on Kashmir, he conceded that the Kashmiri leadership too has failed to respond at crucial times.

Prime Minister's special envoy Shyam Saran said the Kashmir problem was being viewed in the larger context of international relations and the emergence of South Asia as one entity where boundaries would cease to have any meaning. He added that the view of the people of Pakistan and the people of India, including the people of Kashmir, would be taken into account to reach a final settlement on Kashmir. India saw confidence building measures as a way to solve Kashmir problem and not put it on back-burner as Pakistan -- which often talks about "core issue" -- tends to believe, he said.

Mr. Verghese said his book was intended to look towards the future but there was a need to clear the cobwebs of the past. He said the ideas now being discussed as possible solutions to the Kashmir problem existed earlier also but could not be taken forward.

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