Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point: Debates: South Asian
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
Forum 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 28 July, 2000, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Should Kashmir get more autonomy?

The assembly in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is discussing a report urging greater autonomy as a means to end the violent insurgency of the past decade.

The state's ruling National Conference Party is in favour of the idea, although the Indian Government is opposed fearing it could set a precedent.

Kashmiri separatist groups, which want independence or a merger with Pakistan, say it won't solve anything.

Could autonomy be a way forward for the troubled region? Or is it doomed to failure?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments belowl


Your reaction

Kashmir must remain part of India, but it must have autonomy within the Union. Kashmir was deprived of its special status in 1953 by force. India owes it to the Kashmiris to acknowledge the indignity they were subjected to by reversing the autocratic actions of Nehru.
Haru, USA

India should be divided into further autonomous units like Europe - this is the only solution.
Ram, India


Why not take Kashmir away from both India and Pakistan and transfer it to the control of the United Nations?

Shunyata, USA
India has a good case but its political leadership from Jawaharlal Nehru onwards has proved to be weak and incompetent. India has failed to solve the problem of Kashmir that has persisted for the last 53 years. Why not take Kashmir away from both India and Pakistan and transfer it to the control of the United Nations?
Shunyata, USA

The solution was simple in 1947. Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan but it didn't.The solution now is for Pakistanis to concentrate on their own nation and leave India alone. Every war between the two has been instigated by Pakistan, and subsequently lost by Pakistan. Stop looking into your neighbour's house while your own burns. Take care of your corruption and lack of democracy.
H. Kapoor, Canada

Why do the "Hindu" majority of India not respect the UN resolution or allow the promised plebiscite for the Kasmiris after 52 years? Perhaps the "Indians" are only democratic when it suits the "Hindu" interest as the Ayodia Mosque saga has shown.
Karim Chowdhury, England, UK


Do other parties have the moral right to decide the future of Kashmiris without their involvement?

Ahmed, Canada

All the Indians say Kashmir should be given to India. All the Pakistanis say Kashmir should be given to Pakistan. Is anyone listening to the Kashmiris? Do other parties have the moral right to decide the future of Kashmiris without their involvement?
Ahmed, Canada

If Kashmir leaves the Indian union what will happen to the minority Hindu population?
Ravi, UK

If Kashmir is given more autonomy, it will be the spark that will set Punjab and the North East on fire. Separatists everywhere will see the Indian State as being weak, and will think (correctly) that if they fight long enough, they will get their "freedom". It is now too late for Kashmir to get any more autonomy. The only reason why they want it is that they are a Muslim-majority state. What about Muslim-dominated enclaves in other parts of the country? Do they get autonomy too?
Uday, USA/ India

Kashmiris are a selfish lot. By opting out, they'll be unfair to the 100 million Indian Muslims, which may result in yet another partition.
Sunil, Australia


The fact is that both sides messed up in 1947 and the plebiscite should have been held then

Ashvin, India
The fact is that both sides messed up in 1947 and the plebiscite should have been held then. The last 50-odd years of human rights abuse in all directions have proved that neither India nor Pakistan care about the Kashmiri people. Here is the solution. Let us, as Indians, do the right thing and let the Kashmiri people decide their own future. Not what we might reluctantly give them - "autonomy", but what they want - which apparently, is independence. Then we can move on to the more important task of the development of our countries, and the improvement of ties between us. This might sound idealistic but if we want it to happen, it can.
Ashvin, India

As an Indian and Hindu, I feel that if Kashmir is separated from India on the basis of religion or given preferential treatment, Pakistan should be willing to take all other Muslims from India.
Sanjay, India

The insurgents in Kashmir won't stop until they achieve full independence from India. This has gone on for so long that outside intervention is a distinct possibility. The world should pressurise China or Russia to intervene.
Peter Crawford-Bolton, UK in USA


India is the emerging global power with a stable, democratic government

Ankur, USA
After 50 years of self-rule, Pakistan has achieved economic disaster, abject poverty, Islamic extremism and the status of a failed and terrorist state. Do Kashmiris want to be a part of this? I don't think so. More Muslims live in India than in Pakistan. India is the emerging global power with a stable, democratic government. It is time to wake up and understand that terrorism cannot win.
Ankur, USA

The rising demand for autonomy or outright independence from various states and regions in India is not primarily motivated by nationalism or lack of patriotism but is the reaction of millions frustrated at the lack of economic improvement and rampant corruption.
Raj Upadhya, India

Moving back to the 1953 position won't solve any problems. It will undo whatever control on security we have inside the region. Pakistan has absolutely no role to play in Kashmir affairs. They are not even qualified to comment, since Pakistan itself was part of India before independence.
Manjula Chawa, India


How can these people even think about another partition of India?

Sukrit Goswami, USA/ India
How can these people even think about another partition of India? This is an impossible dream of Pakistan and the Indian government should not allow any more partitions of the great country.
Sukrit Goswami, USA/ India

Pakistan, created in the name of religion, did not set the best example for an independent Kashmir. After fifty-two years of being an independent state, she is still an economically underdeveloped and politically backward country. Regional autonomy, as proposed by the Kashmiri parliament, should be restored in Kashmir. Pakistan for its own sake, should improve its ties with India.
Aijaz Hussain, Germany

Every one seems to forget that Kashmir became a major problem only 10 years ago when Pakistan started pumping militants into the area. The whole situation has been extremely disadvantageous to India. It is Pakistan, which needs to be punished.
Prasanna, India

If Kashmir goes to Pakistan, then are Pakistan and Bangladesh ready to take the other 120 million Indian Muslims as well? Should India should be ready to take all Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh? Is that what the Muslims want?
S. Singh, UK

The Kashmir issue must be resolved peacefully and democratically by holding a referendum under UN supervision to give the Kashmiris a chance to choose their own future.
Farhan Siddiqui, Pakistan


A unified Kashmir will be better off as part of India

Shiran Vyasa, Sri Lankan in Canada
A unified Kashmir will be better off as part of India than being independent (and impoverished) or being part of Pakistan (and have its people subjected to a narrow definition of Islamic law that is promoted by extremists). I am sure that Moslems in India are better off being able to practice Islam in a democracy than being in a series of corrupt governments and military dictatorships in Pakistan.
Shiran Vyasa, Sri Lankan in Canada

Autonomy for Kashmir will result in the break-up of India which will become another USSR.
Ribu Jacob, Kuwait

I feel that Kashmir should be handed over to India and let this all be settled. Being a Muslim myself, I know it may sound contradicting to Pakistan's beliefs but Kashmir would be far better off in India's hands as Pakistan's government is too unstable. I feel that too much has been taken from India as it is and Pakistanis should be grateful for actually having Pakistan.
Mohammed Azam, Luton, UK


India should come to terms with the fact that they have lost Kashmir and they must follow the will of the people

Salman Raza, Pakistan
India should come to terms with the fact that they have lost Kashmir and they must follow the will of the people. Granting autonomy to the Kahmiris will be a positive step for the Indian Government.
Salman Raza, Pakistan

I feel that India and Pakistan should discuss becoming a single country and avoid the unnecessary expenditure on armies, just like both Koreas.
Binod, India

The only way to solve the trouble is to act upon the UN resolutions. No other option will solve the problem.
Hammad Tariq, Pakistan


Making new countries cannot solve problems - it is tolerance of people towards other people

Duncan, Idaho, USA
If the division of a country solves all problems then the division of India in 1947 should have been a solution. Making new countries cannot solve problems - it is tolerance of people towards other people. What would happen if blacks in the USA demanded a separate country?
Duncan, Idaho, USA

If Kashmiris want to find peace, there are several options within the Indian constitution. Why would they want to be part of Pakistan? In what way is it a better country? Minorities have lived peacefully within India for a long time! Partitioning a country is not easy and is not acceptable. Please live and let live!
Shiv, India

Kashmir should be given autonomy as an overall package of decentralising power to all Indian states. However, the real problem lies in successive state governments that have been corrupt and undemocratic.
Sudhir Bhat, USA

Why can't we all agree to let the Kashmiris decide what to do with their lives? Let the UN monitored referendum go ahead. Two nations at war should not be allowed to decide the fate of a third nation. The majority of the Kashmiris should have the first and last say in all this.
Irfan Haleem, Pakistan


India has already been divided once due to religion. This cannot happen again and again

Salim-ur-Rehman, USA
India has already been divided once due to religion. This cannot happen again and again. If the Kashmiris do not like India, they must be allowed to move to Pakistan.
Salim-ur-Rehman, USA

Preferential treatment to Kashmir is already bleeding India's economic and military resources.There are far more pressing problems facing India than Kashmir; for example, the north-eastern states, poverty, education etc.
PS, UK

This would further escalate the tensions between Pakistan and India. I don't think an autonomous state would be able to fight terrorism and insurgency.
Ashok Manthina, USA

If India believes that it is a real democracy then it should honour the UN resolutions and let the people of Kashmir decide.
Syed Fuad, USA

I know folks from both Pakistan and India and they seem to be such wonderful people. I cannot believe there is such a big problem. I even know a lot of my Indian friends who have good Pakistani friends. And when we all get together, we are always hoping someday everything will be okay.
Danny Miller, USA

Like all other oppressed people, Kashmiris should also be given the right to determine their future, whether that means union with India or Pakistan, or outright independence. By killing the innocent Kashmiris, India might win the battle in the short run, but in the long run, it will definitely loose the war.
Hassan Bokhari, Louisiana, USA


Hindu tyranny in the subcontinent has to stop and the Hindus have to give the Muslims what they want

Ali, Pakistan/ USA
All Muslim regions in the subcontinent should be part of Pakistan including Kashmir. Hindu tyranny in the subcontinent has to stop and the Hindus have to give the Muslims what they want.
Ali, Pakistan/ USA

I think that India being a democratic country will, under the principles of "democracy", respect the wishes of the people of Kashmir.
Mohan, USA

What chance does Kashmir stand of being independent with Pakistan and China around? It's high time for the people of Kashmir to consider whether they should stay with a country like India, which has got a stable political system, a stable economy and is almost on the verge of becoming an economic/ information technology powerhouse or to stay with a country which has no other job than poking its nose into other's affairs.
Amit, UK

The majority of Kashmiris are Muslims so why should Kashmir be a part of India?
Shahrukh, Canada

Considering the fact that India is a secular country, its partition on the basis of religion is unacceptable. Kashmir belongs as much to the rest of the Indians as it does to local Kashmiris. If people are not happy being attached to India, they are free to cross over the border.
Sachin, India


India was never one country to begin with. If it is to survive then the aspirations of all minorities must be taken into account

Baljeet Johar, USA
India was never one country to begin with. If it is to survive then the aspirations of all minorities must be taken into account. The Hindu culture and language must not be pushed down the throats of minorities in the name of unification. Let all states which are minority based have their autonomy. This will help find the natural common ground of all inhabitants of the region, and yet maintain their diversity with a sense of security.
Baljeet Johar, USA

The only solution for Kashmir is independence from India and all these other proposals, such as autonomy are a waste of time. So come on, let's get real for once!!
Keith, USA

Autonomy will not solve anything. The people of Kashmir do not want to have any association with India. It is important that they are given freedom, freedom to decide what they want their land to be a part of.
Zeeshan Amin, USA

My parents are from Kashmir and like most Kashmiris they believe it is about time the people decided on their own future. India is not interested in the Kashmiri people, and its pledge to be the largest democracy in the world is hollow, as viewed by some American senators who visited the region last month.
Tahir, England


If they do not want to live in India, then let them go to Pakistan. After all, that country was made to be a homeland for Muslims

Jay Neogi, India/ UK
Kashmir should be treated the same as any other Indian state. Kashmiris should stop supporting terrorists if they want peace. If they do not want to live in India, then let them go to Pakistan. After all, that country was made to be a homeland for Muslims.
Jay Neogi, India/ UK

I am not very fond of Pakistan or India, and I have roots in both countries. However, I can say with total confidence that there is no solution to the Kashmir problem except to grant them total independence.
Mahmood, USA

There is no option to please all sides and partial autonomy appears, at least on the surface, to be the only feasible compromise at this point. What other political possibilities are there?
Mike Sabel, USA


If India had not suppressed the autonomy of Kashmir 50 year ago, there would not be a problem today

Gohar Waqar, USA
If India had not suppressed the autonomy of Kashmir 50 year ago, there would not be a problem today. If India had not suppressed Kashmir for all this time, the Kashmiris would not be asking for an independent state today.
Gohar Waqar, USA

Autonomy sounds great but is it a Chechnya waiting to happen?
Ahmed, Spain

Limited autonomy may not be the best solution for every one but seems to be a first step in the right direction as this may bring peace in South Asia.
Bakht Baidar, France

Autonomy will make no difference as the militants will not let anyone enjoy it.
Vikas Chhabra, India


Anything that can bring peace to the country is an acceptable solution

Suchin Gupta, USA/ India
Anything that can bring peace to the country is an acceptable solution. Spending the amount of resources to keep Kashmir is extravagant but necessary. If we have to develop as a great nation, we need to end this war.
Suchin Gupta, USA/ India

What the heck is so special about Kashmir? They should be treated like any other Indian state. They shouldn't have any more or any less autonomy and rights than the rest of India.
Mohan Marette, India/ USA

Kashmiri demands are embedded in a human desire to control their own destiny. In 52 years, they have never felt to be Indians and both India and Pakistan promised them a plebiscite. I think it is time for India and Pakistan to honour their commitments and let Kashmiris choose their own future. India as a democracy cannot and should not continue to enslave Kashmiris.
Naveed Khan, USA

No matter what the Kashmiris achieve, it will be impossible for them to protect themselves against Islamic radicals in Pakistan. If Kashmir becomes an autonomous body, let's hope and pray that it does not become a breeding ground for terrorists like Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Arthur Ramesh, USA

We, the peoples of Kashmir want only freedom and an independent state.
Talat Butt, Sweden

Anything is better than staying with direct Indian rule. How can a Government crush their own people so mercilessly? I am sure any kind of freedom will be greeted with open hands by the Kashmiri people.
Fardeen Chowdhry, UK


Kashmiris should take the reins of their destiny back in their own hands, and the autonomy proposal is a step in that direction

Raj, Punjab
Every single inch of ground gained against the overwhelming and tyrannical power of the central Government in India is a positive step. However, the Kashmiris will have to ensure that their autonomy does not become another avenue for Pakistan's ruling elite to further their policy of bleeding India and the people of Kashmir. Kashmiris should take the reins of their destiny back in their own hands, and the autonomy proposal is a step in that direction.
Raj, Punjab

I think that both Kashmirs (Pakistan occupied and the Indian part) should be integrated and then given autonomy within the Indian Union, for India is a democratic and secular country. Kashmir has a better future with India then with Pakistan.
Satish Kumaar TR, USA

Autonomy sounds great but think a little deeper and one will realise that autonomy will benefit only the politicians, not the ordinary people. What is needed are genuine elections where people get to choose the leaders of their choice so that they can channel their opinions.
Narendra Jain, USA/India

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

20 Jun 00 | South Asia
Kashmir politicians debate autonomy


Links to other South Asian stories