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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
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.
India should be divided into further autonomous units like Europe - this is the only solution.
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.
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.
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?
If Kashmir leaves the Indian union what will happen to the minority Hindu population?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Shiran Vyasa, Sri Lankan in Canada
Autonomy for Kashmir will result in the break-up of India which will become another USSR.
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.
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.
The only way to solve the trouble is to act upon the UN resolutions. No other option will solve the problem.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
If India believes that it is a real democracy then it should honour the UN resolutions and let the people of Kashmir decide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The majority of Kashmiris are Muslims so why should Kashmir be a part of India?
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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?
Gohar Waqar, USA
Autonomy sounds great but is it a Chechnya waiting to happen?
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.
Autonomy will make no difference as the militants will not let anyone enjoy it.
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.
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.
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.
We, the peoples of Kashmir want only freedom and an independent state.
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.
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.
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.
20 Jun 00 | South Asia
Kashmir politicians debate autonomy
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