November 24, 2016 12:00:14 am
Addressing the growing disconnection between Kashmir and the rest of India, Yashwantrao Chavan National Centre of International Security and Defence Analysis (YCNISDA), Centre For Advanced Strategic Studies (CASS) and Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) jointly organised a ‘Pune Dialogue on Kashmir’ at Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration (YASHADA) on Wednesday.
Speakers connected with the Kashmir issue from military, social service and academic circles were a part of this one-day dialogue. Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak (Retd) set the theme for the dialogue, stating, “Kashmir is too proud of their past to accept radicalisation. But yet, they are psychologically and emotionally disconnected with the country.”
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Recounting his experiences of studying in Kashmir during his college days, chief guest Wasudeo Gade, Vice-Chancellor of SPPU, pointed out being once being addressed as an “Indian” by a fellow Kashmiri student, which he found quite odd.
“Somehow, the people in Kashmir do not consider themselves a part of India. In my opinion, we need to understand their feelings,” he said, adding that there is a need to engage in a dialogue at a political level with people of Kashmiri.
Senior journalist Dr Shujaat Bukhari who initiated his short address stating that he wanted to make a strong statement, said, “India has lost Kashmir, politically and emotionally.”
Claiming that the new generation of Kashmir is “completely anti-India”, the journalist added that unfortunately every Kashmiri is viewed as a terrorist.
“No, every Kashmiri is not a terrorist. Tourists who come to Kashmir know the place better than most Indians. Indian civil society and masses have the right to know what is happening on the ground in Kashmir. I urge everyone who hasn’t been there, to go there. Why do you want to depend upon the 9 pm primetime war rooms for information?,” he urged.
The dialogue also spoke of the recent events in the Valley and its immediate repercussions on the locals. Talking about the 52-day curfew, the longest in Kashmir’s history, writer and academician Sameer Yasir said, “Before Burhan Wani died, Kashmiri youth wasn’t anti-India.”
Sajjad Sheikh, an Independent contestant in the 2014 Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, who was also part of the dialogue, claimed that India had “never walked the talk with Kashmir”. “The Assembly has been so disempowered that even the Chief Minister can’t get the usage of pellet guns stopped. The more we blame Pakistan for everything in Kashmir, the more Kashmir slips from the hands of India,” he said. Other speakers at the event included co-founder and executive director of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve, retired IFS official and current president of CASS Ambassador MK Mangalmurti.
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