April 10, 2009

Kashmiri People Want "Azadi" From India - Indian Held Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah

Kashmiris want Azadi [freedom] from India and almost every Pakistani knows that, but ever since independence India has failed to recognize that. Last year over hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri protesters took it to the streets chanted Pro-Pakistan slogans as well as Azadi slogans in the IHK [Indian Held Kashmir]. The same year India placed elections in the region which had a 65% turnout [surprisingly the biggest turnout in IHK's history]. Even though voters stated that just because they voted doesn't mean they don't want Azadi [link below] but India failed to recognize this and thought they have gained success in their power game, But today the pro-Indian leader that was elected [Chief Minister of IHK Omar Abdullah] stated himself that Kashmiris do not want Kashmir to be a part of India [article below]. Is he just saying that to keep the hope alive of the Kashmiri people and stay in power [like his father] or he is actually going to bring change and freedom in the valley? God knows, but all I know is that this is another chapter in Kashmiri history, and perhaps depending on future actions an Important one. The article is below as well as some important links, be sure to check 'em out.

NEW DELHI: The Kashmiri people want ‘azadi’ (freedom) from the Union of India, Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said.

In an interview with the strategic journal, Force, Abdullah said he would facilitate engagement between New Delhi and the ‘azadi’ sentiment. However, he added that people wanted freedom from New Delhi, not him or Ghulam Nabi Azad or Mufti Muhammad Sayed. He said trade across the Line of Control (LoC) was disappointing, describing it as “not trade, but barter”. “If I send them stuff and am unable to call and track my payment, I am not in a position to supply goods to them,” he said.

Unfriendly atmosphere: The chief minister said poor relations between India and Pakistan were the biggest hurdle to peace and development in Kashmir. He said relations between the two neighbours directly impact the levels of infiltration and violence in IHK. He also said the outcome of the Indian general elections would have a direct bearing on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “If the government at the Centre changes, that can prove to be a little bit of a stumbling block along the way,” he added.

Listing his priorities after the Lok Sabha elections, Abdullah said he would ensure the visible presence of military personnel was reduced, while state police adopted a more proactive role. He also called for the establishment of quick response teams to fight militancy.

No consistency: He also criticised successive regimes in New Delhi for lacking consistency in dealing with pro-freedom elements. “Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are not. Sometimes we want to give them passports, sometimes we don’t. I think there is a need to change this attitude,” he said. Agreeing with the European Union (EU) assessment that Kashmir was not an administrative issue, he said the political dimensions of the issue need to be addressed. “We made the mistake in the past of assuming the money was flowing in, the democratically elected government was in place, the violence levels were down so there was no Kashmir issue,” he said, adding that regardless of the level of tourism, the flames of militancy would continue to rekindle without full understanding of the political dimensions.

Army role: On the recent standoff between his government and the army over the killing of two civilians, he said he wanted punishment for the guilty soldiers. “We want the army to send out the right message. But if they want to respond in routine by transferring the guilty to another theatre, we will also respond in routine,” he added.
Source: Daily Times Pakistan

Articles That Show Kashmiri Voters Still Want Azadi:
"The yearning for azadi is still powerful but elections are not a contradiction. The two co-exist in people's minds."

"No, no, I don't accept rule by New Delhi. I will never abandon the dream of azadi. But I am also a citizen. I have basic needs for myself and my family. Will the separatists provide those? Only the government can, so I voted," Jaleel said.
Source: Al Jazeera

One voter, Ali Mohammad, told the BBC: "We support azaadi (independence from India), but elections are important for the day-to-day administration. We need a government."

Source: BBC News South Asia


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