Let Kashmir Talk… or are we scared to?

The first of two-parts of Sheela Bhatt’s indepth interview with Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the leader of the Awami Action Committe, and acting chairman of the Hurriyat Conference has been published at Rediff.com.

A must read.

[…] As India has already been talking about Kashmir to Pakistan, India is talking to Kashmiris too, now let the next round be between Pakistan and Kashmiris. We can bring Kashmiris together, even people with guns in their hands. We should be allowed to pursue the problem through peaceful means rather than military means. We should be allowed to talk to all the parties. Even Pakistan can’t do it alone. […] […] A hardcore reality of Kashmir is that you can’t get peace here unless you talk to people who are a hindrance to peace. You have to acknowledge this fact before searching for any solution. You are having a triangular dialogue. India is talking to Pakistan and India is talking to Kashmir. Let Kashmir now talk to Pakistan. Unless the circle is completed you can’t achieve peace.[…] […] Oh, I believe the people of India should look at Kashmir from a different angle. Forget about India and Kashmir. Think of Kashmiris who have suffered so much. Families are divided. Half of my mother’s family is in Azad Kashmir. I have never met them, I have never seen them. Apart from the political problem, it’s a human problem. The people of India should re-look at Kashmir. Kashmir is not about territory only, it’s about people. […] […] We believe that solving the Kashmir issue is in the national interest of the people of India. The people of India are also suffering because of Kashmir. It makes no sense to have more than six lakh troops here and spend rupees six crore a day. It’s high-time that we live together. We exist together. Now, on a single visa you can travel almost around the whole continent of Europe. Let the issue be dealt at a similar level. […]

Can we bring peace to the valley? Or is that too much to hope for?