Veteran journalist and columnist Kuldip Nayyar today said that the idea of Independent Kashmir threatens India and the civil society will never let it happen no matter how much Kashmiris fight.
Speaking at a media summit in Srinagar, Nayyar said that independence of Kashmir hits at two core values of India, which is unacceptable to the country. "Secularism and democracy will come under threat in India if Kashmir is allowed to go independent," said Nayyar. "For a crore or so Kashmiris, we can't take such a risk. India won't survive in such a scenario where there is no secularism and democracy."
Nayyar said that in any post-Independent Kashmir scenario other problems of religo-ethnic aspirations will arise, further making situation tough for India. "So civil society of India is prepared to give any sacrifice to prevent breaking away of Kashmir," said Nayyar.
"I remember once Sheikh Abdullah had told the then president Lal Bahadur Shastri that a thought of freedom sometimes crosses my mind. Shastri replied what freedom are you talking, do you think we will grant it," said Nayyar.
While talking about the changing geo political situation in the state, Nayyar said that earlier there were only two parties, India and Pakistan, to this issue but now Kashmiris have emerged as the third party too.
Nayyar advocated wide ranging autonomy to Kashmir across the border. "My idea is to give autonomy to Kashmir as it was proposed in 1947. At that time it was decided to keep foreign relations, currency and communication with India and rest be given to Kashmiris. I say that New Delhi and Islamabad give foreign relations and currency as communications is already beyond anybody's control," said Nayyar.
Nayyar claimed that Pakistan is ready for such a solution but there are hindrances from Indian side. "I know Nawaz Sharif for a long time and we usually talk over the issue. I visit Pakistan frequently and I have proposed my idea to them and they are enthusiastic about it as they feel it is a good solution, but India is not warming up to this solution also. The problems in India are withholding it," said Nayyar who was born in Sialkot Pakistan. "Under that kind of autonomy, Kashmir will have its separate flag and whatever they want but all within India. If any politician promises you something else they are fooling you."
The two-day summit is being organized by an NGO Lehar and attended by number of journalists from outside.
Madhu Kishwar, writer and academic said that if ever there is a referendum that should include all the regions of Kashmir. "If your referendum is for a genuine cause, I am with you. But it should be held in all the three regions Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani Kashmir and Aksai Chin, which is under China," said Kishwar.
Situation turned chaotic when Kishwar said that separatists are exploiting people and benefiting from India. "Hurriyat leaders talk big about separatism, but when it comes to things like trade and education they come to India. They are exploiting people," said Kishwar. The comments charged the atmosphere leading the students and other participants to accuse Kishwar of hypocrisy. "What about Gandhi, where did he get education?" said a participant from audience.
"You don't let us trade with Pakistan or other countries and then you say we depend on trade with India. Just allow us trade with Pakistan or other foreign country and we will never look at Indian trade," shouted another audience member.
K G Suresh, senior consultant editor Doordarshan came down heavily on Indian media for not doing their homework. "Everywhere there is superficial coverage of news. Nobody goes deep into the story, there is no concept of research and we treat every event in same manner," said Suresh. "Journalists should remember that covering Bhopal and Nepal is different. It was our lack of sensitivity that good work of India was lost in Nepal. Indian Journalists were beaten up and OB Vans stoned."
"Indian journalists seriously need some orientation. They need to study the basics again," said Suresh.