Kashmir leader wants to revive peace talks with India 'with dignity'

Kashmir's main pro-independence alliance wants to revive peace talks with India to find a solution to the decades-old issue in the Muslim region.

Kashmir leader wants to revive peace talks with India 'with dignity'

Kashmir's main pro-independence alliance wants to revive peace talks with India to find a solution to the decades-old issue in the Muslim region, a leading leader said on Sunday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of the alliance All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said he also hoped to initiate a dialogue simultaneously with Pakistan to push the peace process forward.

What that solution will be has not yet been defined, but experts say it could be more autonomy for the region. Both India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over Kashmir, claim the region in full, but rule over parts of the region.

"Hurriyat is very serious and very keen, we want to resume dialogue with New Delhi and we want to initiate a dialogue with Islamabad," Farooq, 37, told Reuters in an interview in his plush bungalow residence near the banks of Dal Lake.

"Military means, use of force, oppression has failed. I am hopeful now that India realises a growing urge for solution of the Kashmir issue."

Farooq's new call for dialogue reflects public sentiment in favour of further efforts to find a solution to the issue.

Hurriyat started talks with New Delhi in 2004, the first between the two sides since a moevment demanding independence began in 1989.

The latest round of Kashmir talks was held in May 2006. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Hurriyat agreed then to establish a system to discuss solutions to the dispute over Kashmir.

"I am hopeful that a process will restart and yield results fast if India releases prisoners, gradually withdraws troops and repeals the black laws," added Farooq, referring to draconian laws giving security forces expanded powers against insurrection.

Officials say there are nearly 3,000 political prisoners in Kashmir where around half a million Indian troops are deployed.

"I suffered because I initiated the talks, Inshallah we will take the Kashmir struggle to its logical conclusion," said Farooq, who is also Kashmir's chief imam and delivers sermons every Friday to thousands.

"We have a very strong case and we should not be scared to talk," he said. "But we want peace with honour and dignity, not the peace of the graveyard."

Kashmiris see India as an "occupier" and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. But India has rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory.

Indian security forces have been accused in the past of human rights violations, including rape and extrajudicial killings.

Authorities deny any systematic violations and say all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.


Agencies




Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2009, 15:49
YORUM EKLE