NATIONAL

Pak. has role in Kashmir imbroglio: Mirwaiz

HYDERABAD Jan. 3. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference has acknowledged Pakistan's role in the Kashmir imbroglio and said infiltration was continuing.

Taking part in the debate on "National Identities and Self-Determination'' on the second day at the Asian Social Forum Summit here today, the Mirwaiz however urged the Indian Government and the people not to blame it all on Pakistanis or Islam.

"Yes, it is there. To what extent ? There is a religious dimension to it too. It is secondary by nature. The fundamental truth is that it is a political problem. The land should have been a natural part of Pakistan during the time of Partition. Or at best it should have remained a united Kashmir. It had not happened so. The problem remains. People did not get their due from the Indian Government and began asserting their identity. What is wrong with it '' he asked.

Mr.Farooq felt the `gun' only highlighted the issue and brought international attention to the problem. The three parties — Kashmiris, the Pakistan Government and the Indian Government — must sit together and sort it out. "Everyone has a say in it and it should be so. The valley people, Jammu region, Ladhakis and Azad Kashmiris all have a right to self-determination.''

The second day saw representatives of the "disturbed areas'' urging the Indian Government and people to readjust their looking glass to understand the root cause of the ongoing struggles.

Sukhendu Deb Burman of the Indigenous Tribal People Development Centre, Tripura and Artex Shimray, advisor to the North-East Students Organisation, said the Government was stifling the north-eastern voices and what little was heard was also being misinterpreted.

The Government had "scant regard" for the hopes and aspirations of people of the region and using words like internal' or `external' tried to segregate them. Branding a movement seeking recognition of its ethnic identity and culture as secessionism was ridiculous, Mr.Burman said. Mr. Burman said some of the ethnic people had became a minority in their own regions. Tripura was one example of how Bangladeshis swarmed the area and reduced the ethnic tribals' percentage in the population to 30 with just 20 seats reserved for them out of 60 in the Assembly. Every Act passed and every law enacted had gone against the interest of the locals as they did not have much say in anything. The Forest Act would not allow the north-eastern people to cultivate more land, effectively reducing their right to food security.

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