1987 Elections Most Unfortunate In Kashmir History: Vohra

1987 Elections Most Unfortunate In Kashmir History: Vohra

11 February 2012
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: Terming 1987 assembly election as most unfortunate event in the modern history of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor N N Vohra Saturday said this was the cause for many problems including militancy that State is confronting today. “The period surrounding 1975 India-Abdullah accord is important. Many troubles took place after that accord. The 1986 agreement and the 1987 elections were the most unfortunate events in Kashmir history. These events led to eruption of militancy in the State,” Vohra said while speaking during a discussion over a survey conducted on Kashmir youth and media by Institute for Research on India and International Studies (IRIIS). He said this period was the beginning of many problems the State is facing today. “Many of these problems have been solved and some are in the process of being solved,” he said. Commenting on survey, Vohra regretted that two most important districts of Kashmir have not been included in the survey. “Though many districts have been covered under the survey but why two important districts of Kashmir - Shopian and Kupwara - have been excluded,” he questioned. The six districts covered in the survey include Srinagar, Budgam, Islamabad, Kulgam, Bandipora and Baramulla. Governor wondered over the findings of the survey which claimed that state –run TV-Radio channels including DD News-DD Kashmir score the highest rank for providing news and entertainment to the Kashmiri youth. “I wonder how you say that 74 percent rely on official channels for news. This has really amused me. Most people in Kashmir do have official channels available but they devote great deal of time to the private TV channels including local media for news and current affairs”, he said while digging holes in the controversial study. Commenting on parts of study that only 9 percent youth know correct political status of Gilgit, Baltistan and Northern Areas, Vohra said even many serious people at Delhi don’t know Northern Areas or the full meaning of term Azadi. “I am afraid that even many people, who really matter, might not be knowing the true meaning of Azadi. Even well known political figures with whom I have interacted have not been able to define Azadi to me,” he said. On findings of study that there is a perceptible trend that an increasing number of youth in Kashmir are turning to Islam in many ways, Vohra said, “It should not be a matter of concern. 90 percent of the population in Valley is Muslim and where will they go. Obviously they will go to mosques. Besides, in view of the prevailing situation in Valley owing to turmoil, there is rather a forcible urge to evolve a distinct Kashmiri identity”. Regretting that very less attention has been focused on the governance issues in the survey, he said lack of governance also manifests in the form of frustration by the Valley youth. “If the functions of an administrative system do not make a visible impact, the net result is frustration of the youth. Therefore, the governance issue is more important than religion. Let us not get worried about religion,” he said. “As highlighted in the survey, quoting 2001 census figures, 46 percent of J&K population comprises youth. Therefore, youth in J&K will and shall remain the most important segment of our focus and attention”, Governor said in his opening remarks after the brief contours and recommendations of the survey were narrated by Honorary Director, IRIIS Prof Navnita Chadha Behera, the main author of the study on Kashmir youth and media carried out by the IRIIS in six districts of Kashmir valley, wherein around 1500 youth were posed a set of 59 open ended questions in January 2011. Besides Vohra, Prof Neera Chandhoke, Bashir Manzar ( Editor Kashmir Images), Riyaz Masroor (journalist) also took part in the discussion. The audience included Divisional Commissioner Asghar Samoon, Peoples conference chairman Sajjad Lone, former Srinagar mayor Salman Sagar, Ahmad Ali Fayaz (Journalist), Raj Cehngappa (Editor in Chief Triune), Ehsan Fazili (journalist), Prof Gul Wani, Muslim Jan, Nasir Mirza and Shahid Rasool. Riyaz Masroor in his presentation focused on the role of religion in shaping identities in Kashmir. “Sufi and spiritual Islam has been the intrinsic form of religion in Kashmir,” he said. Supporting the recommendations of the study that local media should be regulated, he, however, did not agree with the idea of having a Public Broadcasting Service for Kashmir as recommended in the survey. Bashir Manzar said it is very important to understand the youth, their needs and tastes as they were the most important factor of the society. Commenting on the findings that majority of the Kashmir youth detest violence by giving preference to peaceful way of expression, he said, “How come more than 100 youth were killed by forces in 2010.” “If according to the study 70 percent youth are against violence, then why more than 100 youth were killed in 2010”, Manzar questioned. At the end, the presentations were followed by a question and answer session, in which majority of the audience participated.