Solution of Kashmir issue - Stimulus to peace
10 December 2008, Bruxelles
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank Baroness Emma Nicholson on behalf of the Kashmiri people for her commendable and eminent role in creating awareness about the Kashmir problem in Europe and especially among the establishment of the European Union. I would also like to make use of this stage to thank the European Parliament for the fact that it has shown a certain amount of interest in the sufferings of my people, which were unheard for most of the past 60 years.
As far as the recent political developments are concerned, I am of the opinion that the political situation in Kashmir is disastrous. This has formed the base of daily miseries and created a lack of peace. Kashmir can be best compared with a volcano, where an explosive eruption is inevitable. There was such an eruption in June of this year, when millions of Kashmiris came out on the streets to reiterate their demand of Self-Determination, only to be crushed brutally by the establishment. More than 60 peaceful demonstrators were killed and over a thousand were injured. Numerous arrests were carried out in order to prevent a revolution.
But Kashmiris have successfully showed the world that they are fed-up. Fed up by humiliation, fed up by the tortures, fed up by state terrorism, fed up by the violence, fed up by the discrimination and fed up by the continuous rape of their identity and cultural heritage. Whereas the Indian Government has trivialized this exhibition of dissatisfaction, many renowned and respected writers and intellectuals like Arundhati Roy, Vir Sanghvi and Swaminathan Aiyar have tried to bring the recent developments in Kashmir to the common man in India and made Kashmir’s secession a matter of common debate. Instead of extending that debate into a political spectrum, the Indian Government called for elections in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
I agree with the thought that elections are the base of a democratic setup, but elections on their own are not the only ingredient of democracy. The elections in Kashmir are being held simultaneously with imposed curfew. While in one district polling is conducted, other districts are paralyzed by indefinite curfew. Voting is a democratic right, which implies that not voting is also a democratic right. People advocating for a boycott of the elections on the basis of the recent atrocities committed by security forces in Kashmir are taken into custody and slapped with cases under draconian laws like the Public Safety Act.