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2003: Indian Muslim Statements
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New Delhi, 23 September, 2003

Press Statement
The National Convention of Indian Muslims on J&K was held at Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi, on Sunday, the 21st September 2003. It was inaugurated by Mr. A. R. Antulay, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and former General Secretary of Indian National Congress and its proceedings were directed by a presidium consisting of Mr. Moosa Raza, former Chief Secretary of J&K, Mr. Syed Shahabuddin, former M.P., Mr. Hannan Mollah, Justice Sardar Ali Khan, former Chairman of National Commission for Minorities and Mr. Shahid Siddiqui, M.P. and Editor, Nai Duniya weekly. Mr. Moosa Raza presented the keynote address. The Convenor of the Organizing Committee, Mr. Navaid Hamid presented the Statement of Objectives as well as proposed the draft statement which was unanimously approved, after incorporating some amendments from the participants.

The Convention was attended by around 150 personalities from various parts of the country. Apart from those mentioned above, the following eminent personalities from various parts of the country participated: 

Mr. Abdul Hameed Nomani, Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind; Mr. Abdul Rasheed Shaheen, M.P., J&K; Ahmad Rasheed Shervani, Member, National Commission for Minorities; Justice Abdus Sattar Quraishi, Gujarat; Prof. Abida Samiuddin, Aligarh Muslim University; Prof. Allauddin Ahmad, former Vice Chancellor, Kashmir Agricultural University; Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salfi, General Secretary, Jamiat-e-Ahle-Hadith; Mr. Aziz Burney, Editor, Rashtriya Sahara; Maulana Ameed Uz-Zaman, working President, Abnae Qadeem Darul-Uloom Deoband; Mr. S. M. Hasnain Abidi, General Secretary, All India Shia Conference, Lucknow; Prof. Mohd. Hashim Quraishi, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Mr. Hashim Quraishi, Chairman, J&K Democratic Liberation Party; Maulana Hakim Irfan Hussaini, Member Executive Committee, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Kolkata; Mr. Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi, M.P; Mr. Imran Rahi, Chairman, J&K Peoples’ Party; Prof. Iqbal Ahmed Ansari, Secretary General, Minorities Council; Prof. Juzar Bandookwala, Baroda University; Mr. K.M. Khan, M.P. Andhra Pradesh; Mr. Khurshid Alam Khan, former Governor; Ms. Nafeesa Ali, Social Worker; Maulana Rehan Khan Nadvi, Imam Tajul Masajid, Bhopal; Begum Rehana Undre, Social Activist and Educationist, Mumbai; Prof. Shahid Mehdi, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia; Mr. Yusuf Tarigami, MLA, Kashmir; Mr. Zafar Agha, Delhi; Mr. Vazeer Pathan, Chairman, Minority Department Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.

Bound by geography and history, cultural intercourse, political experience and religious affinity, we, the Indian Muslims, regard the people of Jammu and Kashmir as an inseparable and valuable component of the larger Indian Community. We consider that the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir is indivisible from that of India. At the same time we respect the legitimate aspiration of the people of J&K to find a place of honour and dignity in the Indian family and to blend their multiple identities into the composite and living Kashmiriat.

We also consider the Muslims of the State as part and parcel of the Muslim community of the country. We regard the State of Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority State as a bulwark of the secular foundations of our federal polity. This implies that not only in the long-term interest of the people of J&K but in the larger interest of the Muslim community of India, the people of J&K eschew any ideas of separation or secession or independence. We regard the accession of the State as final and irrevocable and desire its continued integration with the Union of India as provided in the Constitution.

We note with satisfaction that an increasing section of the Kashmiri intelligentsia rejects the option of independence in view of the geo-political situation of the territory and the emergent threat to the sovereignty of small States.

We totally reject the ill-conceived presentation of terrorism, which destroys innocent lives, as ‘jihad’. We condemn the infiltration of terrorists across the LoC and the support it gets from the various agencies in Pakistan.

We deplore the distortion of the democratic process and the slow pace of economic progress, caused by lack of development of required infrastructure, industries and employment opportunities, mis-governance and rampant corruption. We also condemn all repression and violation of human rights and, particularly, the killing and humiliation of innocent persons by the security forces during anti-militancy operations. We hold these factors responsible for the political discontent and for the instability and economic stagnation which have together created frustration, alienation, discontent which assumed a violent form and subsequently led to the rise of militancy, insurgency and terrorism, with foreign support.

We welcome the beginning of the process of normalization in the State marked by the peaceful conduct of the recent Assembly elections (during 2002) and induction into office of a fairly elected Government and its adoption of sympathetic and constructive policies to meet the basic needs of the Kashmiri people, to put an end to the reign of terror and thus provide a healing touch.

We believe that a congenial atmosphere be created in the Valley for the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits to their homes and hearth, peacefully and with dignity.

We favour resumption of negotiations between the Union Government with the State Government and with all sections of political opinion to define the scope and limits of autonomy and territorial integrity of the State, along with an economic package, and feel that it is essential for resolving the situation.

In this context, we welcome the recent announcement of the Central Government to initiate the process of a dialogue with all sections of the people of the State. We hope this process will be speeded up.

We also appreciate the endeavour of both the Governments of India and Pakistan to normalize their bilateral relations and we hope that this process will lead to resumption of dialogue on all bilateral problems, including Jammu and Kashmir, and to the eventual solution of the Jammu and Kashmir question, to the satisfaction of all the people of the subcontinent, which may in the fullness of time, lead to the emergence of the Union of South Asian States.

Navaid Hamid
Correspondence Address: 2143, Dawal Tola, Qasimjan Street, Ballimaran, Delhi-110006 Telefax: 011-23261369, Ph: 011-23218578
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