The government should call for an immediate halt to the use of
arms by security personnel against stone throwers to end the
turmoil in the Kashmir Valley, a group of activists urged at a
conference here Friday.
Among other things, the meeting convened by Peace Mumbai, a
network of social organisations, called for an immediate
withdrawal of security forces from the civilian areas of Jammu and
Kashmir where over 60 people have been killed, mostly in firing by
security forces, in the last three months of turmoil.
At the end of the day-long session on "Kashmir at Crossroads: The
Way Forward", the speakers issued a resolution, demanding "an
immediate return of all parties of different shades of opinion to
the negotiating table".
"The solution lies in the political process alone," the resolution
They also appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminding him
of his "promise to have 'zero tolerance' for all human rights
violations in Kashmir" and said the "draconian laws like the Armed
Forces (Special Powers Act) and the Public Safety Act should be
repealed as they have added to the daily miseries and humiliation
The government, they said, should "effect immediate and time-bound
investigations into all cases of human rights violations and
release all political prisoners arrested since February and those
being held without charges".
Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference Sajjad Lone,
editor of Srinagar-based daily Kashmir Images Bashir Manzar and
activists Pushpa Bhave, Jatin Desai, Deepak Lokhande, Mazher
Shaikh, Jennifer Mirza, Ritu Dewan, journalist Kalpana Sharma and
others addressed the conference.
The speakers expressed their concern over curfews and shutdown
calls that have caused hardships and miseries to the lives of
people in the Kashmir Valley resulting in loss of working days,
livelihoods and wages.
Lone also said that politicians in New Delhi go public on national
televisions when Kashmir is under crisis but "they turn a deaf ear
to the issue when there is silence before the storm".