J&K ultras advancing sectarian agenda
5 August 2001
Geneva: Human rights activists and experts have accused the extremist and militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir of ''misusing the concept of self determination'' for advancing their ''sectarian agenda''. Participating in a discussion at a sub commission meeting of the UN commission on Human Rights here, several experts and activists, including Mr Asbjorn Eide, said religious extremist bodies were working on a dangerous agenda in the name of self determination in the militancy-infested states. Mr Eide deplored the manner in which certain religious and ethnic ''extremist movements'' were using the concept of self determination to advance their ambitious designs. In this context, he referred to the movements in Sri Lanka, Jammu and Kashmir and Yugoslavia. While maintaining that the concept of self determination was noble, and it had played a positive role in the decolonisation process and anti imperialist struggle, he said in the present context, it was being ''misused and exploited'' by the militant and fundamentalist groups. He also asked the Indian Government to direct the security forces not to overreact and exercise utmost restraint while performing their duties as sometimes their actions lead to escalation of violence. Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri of the European Union of Public Relations condemned the killing of innocent people by the Pakistan-backed militants in Jammu and Kashmir. In this connection, he referred to kidnapping and brutal murder of villagers of Doda district by the armed militants. ''What kind of freedom struggle is that which kills its own people. We cannot continue like this where the foreign mercenaries continue to kill the local inhabitants''. Mr Kashmiri, a refugee in Switzerland, after fleeing from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) few years back, also criticised the Pakistan Government for detaining several leaders of Balwaristan, Gilgit and POK for speaking against the military rule of Gen Pervez Musharraf. Mr Ashok Bhan of the Indian Council of Education said that the Pakistan-backed militant groups forced over three hundred thousand pundits to leave the State and seek refuge in migrant camps in Delhi, Jammu and other places.