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Who commissioned the MORI survey?

Survey officials fight shy of naming client – was it Government of J&K, Government of India, the notorious RAW, big business, or was it the Government of the United Kingdom? says John Dayal

Euphoric newspapers flashed the PTI news on page one, and next day, Editorial writers said the UK based market research company Mori had been quite right in stating that most Kashmiris (in the Indian part of Kashmir) would rather stay with India than go to Pakistan. Unfortunately, the unpublished fact was that only nine (9) per cent of the people in Srinagar thought so, while 13 per cent preferred a Pakistani citizenship. The happier figures came from Jammu.

Many questions remain unanswered about the survey, including the one as to who financed it. Mori does not do things for free. Their interests at all times, it makes clear, are commercial with a bottom line it must, correctly, meet. Interestingly, there is no record if Mori ever conducted a similar survey in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, or Azad Kashmir as Islamabad describes it. If the Indian government did not finance the survey, further questions are raised as to how such a sensitive survey was permitted to be conducted at a time when India and Pakistan are threatening a nuclear war and the state of Jammu and Kashmir is at the epicenter of the confrontation.

Tracing the India link of Mori was not difficult, but getting an answer was impossible. Mori does its India work through Prakash Nijhara, of an outfit based in Mumbai and called “Facts Worldwide India Pvt Ltd.” Prakash, reached on his mobile phone refused to give any details, other than saying that the company as a matter of policy keeps the identity of its clients a close secret. He would neither confirm nor deny speculation on whether the client was a corporate one, or Indian or foreign government.

Perhaps he has reason to keep that matter confidential. The report sent by PTI and used by the Indian media patriotically, has larger dimensions than the ones published. While Indian newspapers published all that favoured India, the PTI report did not mention the extent of polarization on the basis of religion the survey revealed in the Indian Kashmir between people living in Jammu, the valley and in Leh. Jammu is largely Hindu, the Valley largely Muslim (more so after the forced exit in the last ten years of the Kashmiri Pundits who fled in the face of terrorist violence which began when Jagmohan was governor of the state), and Leh has a substantial Buddhist flavour.

The report shows perceptions differ on almost every issue. The people of Jammu oppose greater autonomy for Kashmir, an ardent desire of the people of the valley. On human rights violations by militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir, 96% of those in Jammu believe such violations are widespread whereas only 2% of those in Srinagar believe they are widespread (although 33% believe they are 'occasional'). Perceptions of the role of Pakistan are also mixed. Those in Jammu and Leh mostly blame Pakistan, while those in Srinagar more think it has made no real difference (41%) than that it has been either good (35%) or bad (23%). 

On the issue of citizenship, 99% of respondents in Jammu and 100% in Leh felt they would be better off as Indian citizens, 78% of those in Srinagar said they did not know while 9% felt they would be better off as Indian citizens and 13% as Pakistani citizens.

In the interests of the full truth, the following is the full public text of MORI’s public statement on their survey, as also details about Mori and its affiliate in India.
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