Be good neighbours

The world community and saner elements in the sub-continent have time and again urged restraint but the `border’ dwellers are waiting for respite.
Be good neighbours
Representational Pic

A petition endorsed by scores of prominent civil society activists from Jammu Kashmir, seeking an end to hostilities along the LoC has gone in vain. Ever since the petition was submitted to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, the skirmishes along the LoC unfortunately increased forcing hundreds of people to migrate along with their home and hearth from their native villages.

The civil society in Kashmir believes that India responds to militant attacks on army and para-military installations in India with shelling on civilian population across the LoC. The Indian security agencies accuse Pakistan of resorting to facilitate infiltration of militants. Pakistan on the other hand reiterates that the Indian army resorts to unprovoked shelling on villages in Pakistan Adminstered Kashmir. Amid these accusations and counter accusations, the hapless Kashmiris on both sides of the divide get killed day in and day out.

The world community and saner elements in the sub-continent have time and again urged restraint but the `border' dwellers are waiting for respite. While all this is happening along the erstwhile cease-fire line, the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOGIP) is watching and reporting the developments to Security Council but unfortunately without results. The Security Council while passing its historic resolutions for Kashmir resolution in 1948 appointed the military observers to monitor cease fire along the line of divide. This was not sought by the petitioner (India) and when the observers were appointed, India raised its brows. Some people consider UNMOGIP as a sort of peace keeping force. Its job is to monitor cease fire and report the findings to the Security Council. The Security Council as a matter of principle has to act on the reports of the UNMOGIP. A senior lawyer while throwing light on the utility of the UNMOGIP said: "In a civil dispute, the court appoints a commissioner to have an on the spot assessment of the disputed property. The court then considers the report of the commissioner and takes a decision accordingly. Sometimes the court, on the basis of commissioner's report grants interim relief as well. The UNMOGIP is like a commissioner appointed by Security Council. It reports to the body that appointed it but no action has been taken till date."

According to him, it is the failure of the Security Council and not that of the UNMOGIP. The Security Council has also failed to take note of massive mining along LoC on both sides of the divide. These mines more often than not hit the civilians. Thousands stand maimed. The mining, shelling and fencing of the LoC has adversely affected life, agriculture, flora and fauna of Jammu Kashmir on both the sides of the LoC. 

Something tangible needs to be done for achieving the objective. The least it can do is to bring the belligerent states to the negotiating table. The hostilities must stop immediately to save further loss of life and property. The border dwellers have a right to live in peace at their native places. Let the process begin now.

And, while everybody seems concerned about peace along the LoC, a sense of insecurity prevails deep inside the state especially in Kashmir Valley where `stray bullets' pellets and PAVA shells are excessively used to control, rather change a mindset. 

The woes of Kashmiris go un-noticed. As rightly put by the JKLF chairman, Malik Muhammad Yasin, Kashmiris have been pushed to the wall and the state alone is to be blamed for revival of militancy. Similar views have been expressed by the civil society members in their petition addressed to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan. It reads: "We apprehend that this will intensify and augment the sufferings of the people residing not just near the border areas, but eventually of the entire erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, this ongoing spate of violence will provide more significant space to extremist, hawkish and fanatic elements in the society as well as empower the war mongers on both sides." (sic)

The incumbent Chief Minister and the opposition have been seeking a dialogue between India and Pakistan for restoration of peace. However, Syed Ali Geelani says peace can be restored only when the core issue is addressed and settled in accordance with the wishes of the people of the state. He has suggested a trilateral dialogue between India, Pakistan and the representatives of the people of Jammu Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have to accept that the unresolved Kashmir dispute is adversely affecting them as well. The two countries have to behave and live like good neighbours. They are not in a position to take the confrontation to the battlefield. There are other problems to be addressed deep inside their respective territories. They have to fight disease, ignorance and extreme poverty and that leaves absolutely no scope for military misadventures along the LoC or elsewhere.

(The author is Sr Editor Greater Kashmir. Feedback at din.zahir@gmail.com)

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