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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 17:26 GMT
Is there fresh hope for Kashmir?
A new government has been announced in Indian-administered Kashmir, bringing fresh hope that steps might be taken to resolve the long-running anti-Indian insurgency in the territory.
The new chief minister-designate, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, says he wants to "win the hearts and minds of the people" and bring peace.
He has talked about ending abuses and curbing violence.
And ordinary people seemed to welcome a change after years of what they saw as misrule by previous administrations.
But can the new government make much difference on the ground? Is fresh hope for Kashmir justified?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Shashi, Sacramento, USA
There is a lot of hope expected on the current government by the people of Kashmir. The new government seems to be very committed towards bringing peace and development in the region. They are keen on taking a few steps which no other state government has done whole heartedly, like opening dialog with terrorists and dissolving POTA. The new government will have to come out with concrete implementation plans for new development and employment in the region. Lots would depend on the support and cooperation that Delhi provides.
Under extreme pressure of terrorist threats, the Kashmiri people showed the courage to come out and vote for legislature.
However, a hung assembly has complicated the situation.
The new team has a lot of responsibility to stay focused on the people's welfare and to work towards improving the economic situation of the region.
There is hope. As long as Pakistan doesn't promote militancy and proxy war.
The scenes of jubilation expressed by the Kashmiri's at the new chief minister, and downfall of the Abdullah family, only raises questions on the validity of successive past elections which kept the Abdullah's in power for fifty years.
Ibn Rahat, Kashmir
Kashmir has been devastated by years of militancy. Now there is a good opportunity for the people of Kashmir to see peace in the region. Punjab gave up arms and is now the most prosperous state in India. If Punjab did it, there is no reason why Kashmir can't return to normality.
How can a government coming out of a fake election process bring peace to the region? The elections in Kashmir were pure drama created by the Indian Government. This is just the denial of the just right of self determination to the Kashmiri's given to them by the UN.
Have you noticed how in the comments section majority of the people with Islamic names ask for plebiscite in Kashmir while those with Indian names are hailing the elections as a success? Is this because of selective press coverage on both sides of Kashmir?
Anand Tripathi, Chicago, USA
As long as Pakistani sponsored terrorists are operating in the valley, it is difficult to bring peace in the valley. Either Pakistan has to drop terrorism or India has to take hard steps against Pakistan.
Yes, I believe that the new government can bring peace and stability to Kashmir. People have voted them for good governance; both PDP and Congress should keep it in mind and deliver the goods without quibbling about power.
Inam Ul-Haq, UK
Realistically, Kashmir will only have peace when the Kashmiri People have true freedom and a right to self-determination as demanded by three UN resolutions, which have yet to implemented by India. PM Nehru has promised to adhere to these UN Resolutions in the past. The lack of commitment to this promise by the current Indian government is illegal and immoral.
India should admit its past mistakes and allow the Kashmiri's to decide their own future freely.
Rahul Khosla, Lanham/USA
The election of a local government in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir is a commendable first
step. Now, the people of the Pakistan-held part
of the Jammu-Kashmir enclave should hold their own election. After that, the two, elected local
governments should decide how they will
co-exist. India and Pakistan should only
act as bystanders and the UN, a
co-sponsor. For too long, the egos
of the two nuclear powers have stood in
the way of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace
plan for the Kashimiris.
It appears that the people of Kashmir have chosen wisely. Now, it remains to be seen if the elected government of the PDP can deliver on the promises to its people.
Provided that outsiders do not meddle in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, the new government could once again make J&K flourish. If corruption can be curbed and outside interference stopped, I don't see why Kashmir can't return to the harmonious place it once was.
Haridas Ramakrishnan, Monterey, CA, USA
The new government will be as powerless as previous governments have been and the suffering of the people will continue. Let the Kashmiris have the right of self-determination and let them have their own government.
The return of the normal heat and dust of politics to Kashmir is reason for guarded optimism. It has the potential to reduce the residual local support for terrorists.
The militancy in Kashmir initially started against misgovernance like corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency and a lack of economic development which transformed into an anti-India campaign through its exploitation by Pakistan. The acid test of the new government is therefore its capacity to deliver a clean and efficient government to the people of Kashmir which is what they voted for.
Both the governments of India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir have to resolve the complicated Kashmir dispute. If the change in government can retain peace in Kashmir, it will not result in conflicts with Pakistan.
Kudos to the Indian government for conducting an election in some dire conditions. Now it is up to the local people and their leaders to step up and do what is right instead of listening to extremists.
The people of Kashmir have voted for parties which are committed to restoring peace and normalcy to the state. Both the coalition partners are also committed to Kashmir remaining an integral part of the Indian Union. The chances of peace and normalcy in the Kashmir valley now depend on the willingness of the Pakistani military establishment, and the militant groups sponsored by it, to respect the verdict of the Kashmiri people.
28 Oct 02 | South Asia
28 Oct 02 | South Asia
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