An Open Letter to the Former Prime Minister of India, Mr Manmohan Singh

An Open Letter to the Former Prime Minister of India, Mr Manmohan Singh

By Javeed Ali

Dear Sir:
As you headed the recent Congress panel of high-level policy group which arrived in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday for a “first-hand assessment”, I have a few points which I want to convey to you through this piece.
Right at the onset, we should accept this fact that there is a problem. We should not look Kashmir as a law and order issue. There is a genuine problem, which we need to address. The fact is that theIndian establishment is trying to impose its forced rule in Kashmir. They provoke Kashmiri youth by using wrong tactics and portray them as terrorists on National media.
Kashmir is a political issue and it should be dealt politically taking all stakeholders on board. Kashmiris including people in India and Pakistan are suffering physically as well as economically due to this unresolved Kashmir imbroglio. Fiddling with article 370 or 35A and hurting the sentiments of people by interfering in their religious matters have done more harm than the good. It has alienated the people of Kashmir and they feel Indian authorities are at war with them. And, to top it, Kashmiris are harassed on one pretext or the other.
Recently a crackdown was launched against Kashmiri politicians, doctors, engineers, journalists, advocates and other intellectuals on the garb of NIA investigations. More and more people join in anti-India chorus now due to this insane approach.
You should accept this fact that you have done blunders in Kashmir. The horrible incidents of Kunan Poshpora, Shopian, Machil, Chattisinghpora are still fresh in the minds of the people. The number of fake encounters, forced disappearances, rapes were committed by Indian forces and no legal action was taken against the culprits. The students of Kashmir have now taken on roads not for jobs or perks but for something which is their birth right. They want freedom from atrocities, crackdowns, illegal detentions and a space to express themselves.
One Burhan Wani was killed but more Burhans followed him. This cycle of violence is not going to end as long as you solve this vexed issue as per the aspirations of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Let’s all work together and resolve this dispute once for all so that peace prevails in the whole sub-continent.
You being gentle and modest, we vest a lot of hope in you. Dear Sir, you must make strenuous efforts to start a meaningful approach and use all your possible resources for the final settlement of this long pending issue. You should persuade all the people at the helm of affairs that solution to Kashmir dispute is for the betterment of the whole region. We all are keeping our fingers crossed and we hope you will make a good impact to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

—The author can be reached at: [email protected]

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