PC Admits Kashmir Protests Widespread, Alienation Deep

PC Admits Kashmir Protests Widespread, Alienation Deep

19 September 2010
Kashmir Observer


New Delhi: In his first public admission of the protests in Kashmir being widespread and presence of significant alienation among the masses, home minister P Chidambaram today hinted at the concessions central government was mulling to retrieve the situation. Chidambaram said in an interview that it was time to act on promises made to the people of Kashmir more than half a century ago. 'Over the years, several promises have been made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and we should act on those promises,' Chidambaram said in an interview to the Hindustan Times published today. Though he did not elaborate on what “promises” might be considered in evolving a package for Kashmir, where 106 people have been killed in 100 days of unrest, Chidambaram stressed a plebiscite was not up for consideration. 'The plebiscite is history. Much has changed since,” he said. “We have to look at things as they are now, not rake up the past, if we are to move ahead. ”Chidambaram said the Kashmir problem was essentially political. “In the absence of a solution, it has given rise to serious security concerns,” he said. He acknowledged Kashmir was seeing “a qualitatively different kind of protest”. 'Certainly today’s protesters are a very different group of young men, women and, in some cases, children,” he said. “We do need to recognise this. The protests are certainly more widespread and there is significant alienation. It may be recalled that earlier New Delhi had blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan for stoking unrest in the Kashmir Valley. “Pakistan appears to have altered its strategy...It is possible there is altered strategy. It is possible they believe on relying on civilian unrest that would pay dividends,' he had told Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of the Indian Parliament) in June when the unrest had just begun. He also named Lashkar as agent provacateur in what he described was the widespread violence against security forces. Opposition BJP too had dismissed the protests as handiwork of Pakistani agents. In a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an NDA delegation led by senior BJP leader LK Advani had said the separatists, at the behest of Pakistan, had 'adopted an alternative strategy to convince the world about the so-called justness of Kashmir's cause.' KO Monitoring Desk


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