No one in Kashmir wants Valley to go to Pak: Opinion poll
26 September 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Virtually nobody in Kashmir, even in Srinagar or Anantnag, wants the Valley to go to Pakistan, says an opinion poll conducted in Jammu and Kashmir last week which also feels the National Conference has a lead over other parties in the current Assembly elections. The poll conducted by Acnielson said in Srinagar, Anantnag and Udhampur zero per cent were in favour and interestingly only in Jammu did one per cent say they wanted the Valley to go to Pakistan. A total of 574 people were interviewed between Sept 12 and 16 in four towns in the state—Srinagar, Anantnag, Jammu and Udhampur. Rural areas were not covered in this survey. Significantly, 49 per cent across the state said the Kashmir Valley should remain with India. In Srinagar it was 21 per cent, in Anantnag five, Jammu 79 and Udhampur 81. Fortyeight per cent in Srinagar and 59 per cent in Anantnag say that independence is the solution to the Kashmir problem. 26 per cent in Srinagar and 27 per cent in Anantnag say that Kashmir should stay with India but with greater autonomy for the state. The poll found that a very clear majority—91 per cent across the state—feel that the use of violence by militants would not help in solving the Kashmir problem. In Srinagar 16 per cent and in Anantag 22 per cent feel otherwise. Other highlights of the poll include: Likely to vote: 60 per cent across the state said they intended to vote. The figure was much lower in Srinagar (32 per cent) and Anantnag (17 per cent). In both Jammu and Udhampur, 90 per cent said they would vote. Hurriyat factor: If the Hurriyat and Shabir Shah’s PDF had contested 28 per cent in Srinagar would have backed the Hurriyat and 14 per cent the PDF. Faith in Vajpayee’s free and fair poll promise: 62 per cent across the state said they had faith in the Prime Minister’s assurance that the elections would be free and fair. In Srinagar, though, this was only 50 per cent. Trifurcation: The proposal to trifurcate the state — into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh— was rejected by 87 per cent across the state. Does Pakistan want peace?: 79 per cent acorss the state said they believed Pakistan does not want genuine peace with India. In Srinagar, however, this rate was less. 33 per cent felt Pakistan did want peace. In Jammu and Udhampur, more than 90 per cent had no faith in Pakistan’s desire for peace.