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2002: Indian Muslim Statements
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The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) issued the following statement in Srinagar on 3 July 2002 at the end of its delegation's visit

Srinagar, 3 July, 2002

Since its inception, the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) has been monitoring the developments in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It has consistently upheld the special status of the state as defined by Article 370 of the constitution and supported the struggle of its people for autonomy, democracy and progress. It has repeatedly expressed its deep distress at the upsurge of violence and the resulting loss of life and property and at the erosion of the rule of law and the persistent violation of human rights. It has kept in touch with the situation in the state through frequent contacts. The present Study Mission is a continuation of the same process.

During its visit (29 June-3 July) the AIMMM Mission, consisting of the undersigned, Maulana Shafi Moonis and Prof. Saifuddin Soz, both president, Mr KM Khan, MP, and Mr Zafarul-Islam Khan, both members of the Markazi Majlis-e Aamila, has interacted on a representative cross-section of the political leadership and intelligentsia of the state, including the leaders of the National Conference, the APHC, the Jamaat-e Islami, the DFP, the PC, and the PDP, the state Human Rights Commission, noted journalists, eminent lawyers and retired bureaucrats. The Mission call on the Lone family to convey its condolences at the assassination of the great Kashmiri leader AG Lone. In Jammu, It visited a camp of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits and also the Raghunath Temple, the site of a recent terrorist attack. As a result of its extensive interaction, the Mission has come to sum broad conclusions which it likes to share with the people of the state.

The signs of return to normalcy and in the context of recent development, there is a surge of hope for a final solution of the Kashmir problem. The people long for peace and for a peaceful settlement. But the state is still under a virtual state of emergency. There is fear in the air, with sporadic violence. The people nurse deep alienation with the political system and cynicism about the democratic process due to their sad experience of broken promises and forgotten assurances. They feel disenchanted and frustrated, wary of new promises and fresh undertakings.

Having gone through many election, they do not see the coming election as the solution or even as the first step towards a final settlement. They strongly feel that there can be no “free and fair election”, even with the presence of eminent observers, national or foreign unless there is freedom from fear, freedom of expression and of assembly, indeed unless the repressive machinery of the state is dismantled and the still raging militancy and counter-militancy are brought to an end.

The mission is of the view that the Kashmir problem is basically a political and can be resolved only by political means not by a clash of arms, nor simply by economic development or good governance. The quest of an acceptable, durable and honorable solution will be a long journey which will test at every step the will and determination of the people of the state and their leadership for peace with dignity. An election can only be an occasion to review the progress towards the ultimate destination.

The Mission has noted the near universal acceptance of the idea that the central government should immediately initiate unconditional dialogue with the political leadership of the people in a sincere effort eventually to arrive at the above goal.

The Mission, however, feels that for the success of the dialogue, the central government should first take due preparatory steps to create a conducive environment, such as releasing the political detainees, reducing the visible presence of the security forces in the inhabited areas, suspending the operation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Disturbed Areas Act, minimising recourse to the Public Safety Act and the POTA, disbanding the Special Task Force and the SPOs, withdrawing support from the pro-government militants and reaching an agreement with the militants for a lasting cease-fire.

The Mission proposes that at the next stage the central government should set the ball rolling by convening a round table conference of all significant formations, including all recognized national and state political parties, the APHC and others. Such a conference will throw up all possible options and pave the path for a frank exchange of views and the emergence of a feasible consensus.

Once the dialogue is initiated, it will generate confidence in the democratic process and motivate the people to participate massively in the Assembly election, as and when it is held, which may serve not only to fill a constitutional vacuum but also to provide the people with a responsive administration, committed to good governance.

The Mission has concluded that no major political formation in the state constitutes a hurdle in the path of negotiations, that modalities should not stand in the way and that every participant should be free, in the course of the negotiation, to interact with non-participants of its choice.

The Mission has also taken note of the strong desire of the people of the state that the governments of India and Pakistan should also resume a purposeful dialogue on all bilateral questions including the Kashmir problem, which may lead to freedom of peaceful intercourse between the people divided by the LoC and perhaps to their eventual unification.

The Mission reiterates its conviction that a durable and honorable settlement of the Kashmir problem shall promote peace, friendship and cooperation in the Subcontinent and its progress as a whole and serve to bring its people closer.

Sd/- Syed Shahabuddin, President
N-44, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 110 025 Phone: 632 6780 Fax: 632 7346
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