Journalist team from New Delhi says Kashmiris alienated

Journalist team from New Delhi says Kashmiris alienated

‘Section of Indian media misleading nation about happenings in Kashmir’

The three-member team of journalists from New Delhi which was in Srinagar recently on a “study tour” to assess the ground situation, have returned a firm impression that Kashmir are alienated from New Delhi and people from all walks of life are involved in the ongoing agitation.

The visiting journalists have also acknowledged the fact that a section of Indian media is mis-reporting Kashmir situation to malign the truth about the present unrest in the Valley. The team members spent three days in Srinagar including the day of Eid, meeting hundreds of people from different walks of life.

The guest journalists were headed by Santosh Bhartiya, editor of “Chauthi Duniya” newspaper. The other two members of the panel were Ashok Wankhade, a political analyst at ABP News Channel and Managing Editor “Urban Update” magazine and Abay Kumar Dubey, a political analyst at ABP News Channel and a professor at Centre for Studies for Development Societies (CSDS) New Delhi.

“We have fully understood that this is an indigenous freedom movement going on in Kashmir. There may be some involvement of Pakistan to create the unrest but the fact is common people of Kashmir are deeply alienated due to the indifferent attitude of New Delhi towards Kashmir and the people of the state. The people of Kashmir have been sacrificing hugely and they are even ready to face the worst for the cause of Aazadi,” Santosh Bhartiya told Greater Kashmir in an interview after concluding his three-day study tour along with his two associates.

The visiting journalists met Hurriyat leader Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat, leaders of some mainstream political parties, members of civil society and several trade leaders during their stay in Srinagar. Hurriyat (G) leader Syed Ali Geelani had approved a meeting with the New Delhi based journalist at his Hyderpora residence, where he is under house arrest, but the police did not allow the journalist team to enter Geelani’s house.

However, the journalists later had half an hour telephonic conversation with Geelani.

Hurriyat leader Prof. Gani told the journalists that Kashmir issue has become a threat to peace in entire South Asian region, as the two nuclear powers of the region are in a state of war due to this issue.

“We listened to Professor Bhat for about two hours. He was talking sense and logic. He is for a peaceful resolution of political issue of Kashmir and he wants the centre government to come out from the denial mode,” Santosh said.

Geelani had invited us to his home but police did not allow us to meet him. Then we talked to him on phone for about half an hour, he added.

“Geelani Sahib told us how and why the Kashmiris have lost faith in dialogue with New Delhi. He believes that talks with centre have proved futile during all these years because the successive governments in Delhi have never been serious to resolve the issue.”

After meeting scores of people and witnessing the ground zero situation in the Valley, the visiting journalists said that a section of Indian media is “misleading the nation about happenings in Kashmir by their false reporting.”

“This is unfortunate that a few news channels in New Delhi are misreporting Kashmir situation. By false reporting they are giving an impression that every second Kashmiri is a Pakistani agent. We spent three days here. We met hundreds of people but did not see even a single person whom we could call a Pakistani agent. The fact is that every common Kashmiri wants New Delhi to initiate a dialogue process to find a peaceful political resolution to the issue. Even Kashmiri knows that no solution can be found in one night but they still want a process of a serious dialogue be started,” Santosh said, adding, “New Delhi has no other option to listen to the people of Kashmir. Their wishes cannot be suppressed by use of force.”

We met several mainstream political leaders like Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami, Zafar Iqbal Manhas and Tariq Hameed Qarra. Even these Indian politicians seem to be alienated by New Delhi’s approach towards Kashmir. They are furious over the use of brutal force by the forces against common protesters, he said.

The visiting journalists also met a group of local journalists in Srinagar, who informed the guests about the several facts regarding the present unrest which the national media refuses to report.

“Our meeting with some Kashmiri editors and reporters proved very fruitful to our study tour. They made us aware of several historical facts and the ground situation in the Valley. They told us how a section of media outside Kashmir is misreporting to malign the image of Kashmiris and their movement.”

A team of National Conference leaders headed by Sharief Din Shariq also met these journalists.

“The National Conference leaders informed us how New Delhi has ruined and abused every single democratic structure in Kashmir during past 70 years to weaken the autonomy and the rights of this state. National Conference leaders are disheartened because the Autonomy resolution passed by a two third majority of the state assembly in 2000 has not been regarded by New Delhi.”

The journalists also visited curfewed areas of Srinagar city during their stay in Kashmir to assess the situation. They also visited some markets during the relaxations hours and talked to the common people on the streets and in the shops. “We did see how people follow the protest calendar issued by their leaders. All the shops were closed till 6 p.m. even a day ahead of Eid. The traders of the city did not open their shops before 6 in the evening. This indicates that people are responding and respect the protest calendar strictly,” he said.

“In our capacity as journalists, writers and political analysts we will try to inform the nation about the ground realities of Kashmir. We will show the real picture of Kashmir’s present situation to the nation through our writings. That is our job. We will not hesitate to tell the truth to the people of India,” Santosh, the team leader of visiting journalists, told Greater Kashmir.