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Kashmiris yearn for peace and coexistence

by | Jun 22, 2022 | India

The Kashmir (Policy & Strategy) Group organised a Kaath-Baath which was attended by a galaxy of prominent Kashmiris.

At a historical intra-community online dialogue “Kaath-Baath” facilitated by Kashmir (Policy & Strategy) Group and attended by a galaxy of prominent Kashmiris, It was unanimously said that -We unequivocally condemn the Recent spate of Innocent civilians by hybrid militants and termed these as an affront to the collective conscience of Kashmiriyat and the civilisational heritage of tolerance and mutual coexistence.The brutal killings of innocent is against the tenets of all the religions and particularly the Islam (whoever kills a soul, it is as if he had slain the entire mankind And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved mankind entirely).

KPSG Chairman Ashok Bhan, in his opening remarks, said: “The targeted killings of innocent civilians, including outsiders and from minorities unlike past evoked large condemnation and protestations by the Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmiris hit the streets in large numbers to protest against killings.The political leadership across the spectrum, the civil society leaders and the spiritual and religious leaders strongly condemned the killings. There was a strong appeal to minorities, especially to members of Kashmiri Pandit community, who are living and working in the Valley not to be frightened to leave Kashmir.The regional political leadership collectively even met the LG Manoj Sinha and urged him to resolve the issues of insecurity of the KP employees and assured full support to the minorities.

This manifests that the soul of Kashmiri ethos and plural societal values of “Kashmir are alive”. Gar Firaus Bar-Rue Zamin Ast, Hami Asto, Hami Asto.

Former chief Secretary Mohd.Shafi Pandit, said the Ashok Bhan’s doctrine of Kaath-Baath between the communities of Valley and Jammu is a noble cause and timely.There is a dire need for this doctrine to transform into a larger meaningful structured one to involve all the professionals, religious and spiritual leaders and youth. He said the trust deficit between various communities is due to negative and competitive narratives and disinformation unleashed by vested interest and some movie makers. There is a dire need for more and more engagement between Kashmiri pandits and Muslims to defeat the anti Kashmiriyat narratives unitedly by all sections. He suggested a need for constitution of a truth and reconciliation commission that can give a closure to all the negative narratives prevalent currently.
Prof Mehraj-udin, former Vice-Chancellor Kashmir University said: “The death & destruction by terrorists violence has so far not only devastated the demographic profile of the Valley but destroyed our age old coexistence and mutual trust. He said the united Kashmiri communities shall act as a bulwark against attempted radicalisation and in restoring the Insaniyat and Kashmiriyat.” He said there are multiple societal challenges in Kashmir and particularly the drug menace creeping in the youth. Absence of engagement with youth and opportunities lead youth to despondency and eventual drugs. Bhan doctrine of mutual dialogue will go a long way in Kashmir as a truthful way out to help resolve social issues and terror free peaceful life to Kashmiri’s all sections.

Raj Nehru, Vice-Chancellor VK University Haryana said: the tolerance, amity, mutual trust, and coexistence is the hallmark for a healthy society and history is replete for ages the Kashmiri’s have lived up to as a shining example as a plural society with peaceful coexistence. It was only in 1990 and after the bigotry, brutalities and killings of patriotic Muslims and of Kashmiri Pandits that led to exile of entire community lay Kashmir in deep turbulence, radicalisation, devastation and despondency. All communities have suffered. Now is the high time to adopt the Bhan doctrine of mutual understanding and intra communities dialogue to bridge the wide trust gap and move forward unitedly as Kashmiri’s to salvage the prestige and glory of plural Kashmiri ethos and to defeat the nefariousness of the Emmy of people within and outside.

Author & Journalist Ashok Ogra said: “Recent targeted killings of innocent civilians by new age hybrid militants including outsiders and from minorities evoked large condemnation and protestations by the Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmiris hit the streets in large numbers to protest against killings..There was a strong appeal to minorities especially to members of Kashmiri Pandit community who are living and working in the Valley not to be frightened to leave Kashmir. This means to all that the Soul of Kashmiri ethos and plural societal values of “Kashmiriyat are alive.”
The efforts launched by KPSG led by Ashok Bhan is a timely need after the more than three decades of brutal killings and devastation.The intra communities dialogue has to be a process de-horse of any governmental interference at least till it evolves in bridging the gulf and mistrust between the Kashmiris.

Social activist, Imtiyaz Chesti, said: “The ‘Bhan doctrine of unity of all the Kashmiri communities shall culminate into a robust peace movement to defeat negative narratives unleashed by the vested and radicalised interests.It is necessary for us to fail and defeat the pernicious and negativity being spread about Kashmiri’s
on the national TV Channels by giving space to anti Kashmir panelist’s.He said Kashmir belongs as much to aborigines Kashmiris as to other natives.Pandits are inseparable part of our Valley and its heritage.They should return back to their roots and physically contribute as in the past towards the newer plural, terror free and democratic Kashmir and promote the Bhan’s doctrine of coexistence.

Advocate Ms Yasmeen Wani said that this initiative must extent to youth and women of all communities eventually. She emphasised that the new age youth of Kashmir are against gun culture.They spread to various parts of the country to get education, jobs, and business.They explore India as a land of opportunities like wise they carry a message of Kashmiriyat. It is therefore incumbent on KPSG to facilitate the intra youth and women dialogue.Kashmiri call for peace and coexistence for the betterment for the current young and future generations.

Advocate Arshid Bashir said we as youth of Kashmir live, work, study and trade unhindered in different parts of India. They are loved compatriots. They prosper and surely appreciate the opportunity.Why aren’t they speaking up to secure the right to life of Kashmiri Pandits? Is this a fear or complacency.This is where the intra communities dialogue -Youth dialogue as said by my colleague Yasmeen becomes necessary.We shall support the Bhan doctrine and work towards making it a peace and reconciliation movement to secure better collective terror free life for all the Kashmiri communities in the Valley,

Dr Manmeet Bali a professor in Manav Rachna university, a native of Pulwama said the in-terse engagement within communities of Valley is a noble initiative. Sikh community is a stakeholder and has been on the receiving end since 1947. The Sikhs have suffered loss of men, women and children in Chatsighpora and elsewhere.In any process for resolution of Kashmir imbroglio and peace, the Sikhs should be part of the process as stakeholder.

Prof Raj Kachroo said that there is a great scope for people to people and intra communities dialogue process and Kashmiri’s are yearning for such a process.The KPSG initiative seems to me as a credible and honest facilitator for such process let it evolve as a peace movement.

K K Khosa, president of Kashmiri Sabha Jammu, said the initiative shall eventually culminate into a structured dialogue.Such dialogue must be tacitly supported by the government to achieve the success.

Peace activist and Sharda movement convenor, Ravinder Pandita, said Kashmiri Muslims are supportive of all his efforts and he has been able to construct a temple on Indo-Pak border. Across the Valley there is a warmth for the return of Kashmiri Pandits.The KPSG initiative if intra communities dialogue will reinforce the enthusiasm and warmth for KPs to come back home.

Former Sessions Judge BL Saraf said the Kashmiri Pandits craving to return home seems to be getting into reality. The protestations and condemnation witnessed shatter innocent killings of Pandits, Dogras, outsiders and native Muslims had defeated the nefariousness of hybrid militants and OWGs.At the same time it has rekindled the hope and resolve of Kashmiri Pandits to return home and Conjointly work towards the peace and revival of age old Kashmiri heritage and plural coexistence of communities.The KPSG initiative is a welcome step as a ray of light in darkness.
There were scores of participants from across the Kashmiri Communities.

Suneel Wattal moderated the webinar.

Suneel Wattal
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