Thursday, May 27, 2010

75-95% people in Kashmir valley want Independence from India: King's College London Survey Report

Just 2% of people in J&K want to join Pak: Survey
Courtesy: Times of India dated May 28, 2010,
NEW DELHI: For those who still think a plebiscite will tilt the status of Kashmir and that most Kashmiris yearn to wave the Pakistani green, there are now numbers for the first time to contradict these claims.

A survey carried out across both Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, that its author claims is the first ever of its kind, shows that only 2% of the respondents on the Indian side favour joining Pakistan and most such views were confined to Srinagar and Budgam districts. In six of the districts surveyed late last year by researchers from the London-based thinktank Chatham House, not a single person favoured annexation with Pakistan, a notion that remains the bedrock for the hardline separate campaign in Kashmir.

However, the study by Robert Bradrock, a scholar from London's Kings College, that involved interviewing 3,774 people in both parts of Kashmir in September-October 2009 showed that 44% of people on the Pakistani side favoured independence, compared to 43% in Indian Kashmir.

Bradrock says in the 37-page report on the survey that this would put an end for all times to come to the plebiscite route as a possible way to resolve Kashmir, since the only two options envisaged under the UN resolutions proposing plebiscite in 1948/49 were for the whole of Kashmir to join either India or Pakistan; azadi was not an option. But in the Valley, the mood for azadi still remained strong, with 75%-95% respondents favouring that as a final resolution.

The poll showed no support either for joint sovereignty or for maintaining status quo. However, more than 58% of those surveyed were prepared to accept the Line of Control as a permanent border if it could be liberalized for greater people-to-people contact and trade. Only 8% voted against making the LoC a permanent boundary, with the highest level of opposition in Anantnag district, the report said.

Few people in Kashmir, compared to many more in PoK, believed that violence was likely to resolve the Kashmir issue.

In J&K, only 20% thought that militant violence would help solve the problem, compared to nearly 40% who thought it was coming in the way of a resolution. In PoK, 37% of those surveyed held the view that violence was a possible route to resolution.

That both the state legislative elections in 2008 and the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 had helped bring about a change in mindsets was seen in the increasingly high turnouts that Kashmir has posted in recent years.

The survey too demonstrated that trend, with more than half the respondents saying the elections had improved chances for peace.

"The results aren't surprising at all. I feel they re-emphasize the need to look beyond traditional positions and evaluate the contours of a solution grounded in today's realities," said Sajjad Lone, a former ally of the Hurriyat who unsuccessfully contested the 2009 election.

Peoples Democratic Party chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said the azadi aspirations must be factored into any solution.

"It can't be wished away and has to be configured into the future strategy on Kashmir. We've always been pleading to provide an alternative to the azadi sentiment."

Three youth killed in fake encounter by Army in Baramulla

Courtesy: Daily Kashmir Times dated May 28th, 2010 by SHABIR IBN YUSUF
SRINAGAR, May 27: Army has allegedly killed three boys of Nadihal Baramulla in fake encounter at LoC in Machil sector of Kupwara on April 30. Police has arrested two government gunmen but army has denied to comment on the incident.
Three boys identified as Shazad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone of Nadihal Baramulla went missing from their homes on April 27. The family members of the trio searched for them but were unable to trace them. They approached police and police registered a missing report on May 10 in the police station Panzala.
The residents of Nadihal held protest demonstrations and SP Sopore Altaf Khan assured them fast and fair investigation into the case of missing of three boys and the residents called off their protests.
Police sources said the family members of the missing youth in their statement to police said Bashir Ahmad Lone a government gunman turned SPO, now working for army, is involved in the disappearance of three boys. Sources added that police interrogated Bashir and he identified the dreaded government gunman Fayaz Ikhwani alias Gazi of Tujjar Sharief Sopore.
Police sources said that the government gunmen confessed that on April 26 they gave Rs 5,000 each to three boys and asked them to come next day for more money. Sources added when the trio approached the government gunmen Bashir and Fayaz the next day, the latter took them along and since then they are missing. Police sources said that the call record of Fayaz Ikhwani confirms that he was in Thayen area of Kalroos when the trio was killed in Machil and the bodies were brought to Kalroos.
SP Sopore Altaf Khan said that they are investigating the matter and have registered a case in this regard. He, however, said they have picked up some people for questioning. He said divulging any details at this juncture will hamper the investigations. “We have registered a case and have brought some people for questioning,” said SP Sopore. “It is immature to conclude whether they are involved in it or not. It will get confirmed after the investigations are complete,” Altaf Khan added.
It is pertinent to mention that Machil encounter in which army claimed that they killed three militants but recovered five AK 47 rifles. Sources in the police, however, maintained that there was possibility of this being a “fake” encounter. The three missing boys, it is believed, may have been handed over by the two Ikhwanis to the army who killed them in what came to be publicized as Machil encounter about a month ago.
On April 30 Srinagar based PRO defence in a statement said that the “ troopers on noticing some movement on the LoC in the wee hours today challenged some militants and asked them to surrender but they opened fire and in the retaliatory action three militants were killed. The operation was still on,” the statement said.
The statement added that three AK 47 rifles were recovered, besides other ammunition. “On checking their belongings, two more AK rifles and a pistol were recovered besides other items. Their identity is yet to be ascertained. Probably they tried to use the bad weather conditions to sneak in. But alert troops foiled the attempt,” read the statement on that day.
PRO defence in Srinagar however denied commenting on the matter. “No comments,” he said.