India International Centre (IIC) organised a daylong seminar ‘Kashmir the way forward’ here last week.
Organisers in a statement said that the event was chaired by the former Jammu and Kashmir Governor and IIC president, N N Vohra. Prominent personalities, who attended the seminar included, Radha Kumar, Rekha Chowdhry, A M Watali , David Devadas , Prof Aijaz Ashraf Wani, Happymon Jacob and many others .
Participants highlighted the shortcomings faced by common Kashmir population, in the public services and other essential services in living their day to day lives.
Referring to the Articles 370 and 35A, they said, “Tinkering with these articles would not only harm the Kashmiris in a big way but would also harm the interests of the Indian Union including denting its federal structure.”
They also emphasized that Articles 370 and 35 A were not very different from the laws and practice that prevailed in Arunachal Pradesh, Megalaya and Himachal Pradesh. “Then why so much fuss and fury about Article 370, and 35 A ? Uncalled interference with these provisions would drive the last nail in the coffin of mistrust between Kashmiris and the rest of the country. Best, let us leave it alone,” they added.
They said, “With the exception of the horrendous experience of the mass exodus of Pandits from the Valley, the Kashmir is still home to outstanding levels of inclusive living and communal harmony.”
Ms Vijay Bazaz, who was caught in 2014 floods in Kashmir highlighted the undifferentiated treatment given to the marooned Kashmiri Pandits, by the young Muslim boys , and rehabilitation thereafter.
She also slammed media, particularly electronic, who were always after reporting negatively about Kashmir. “They would paint a picture as if every young Kashmiri boy is a stone pelter. Sad!” she added.
She advised the media to report the TV bytes of tourists who visit Kashmir . The tourists are ‘gongo’ and full of praise for Kashmiris.