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Accepting people's aspiration

New Delhi, Sat, 18 Apr 2009 NI Wire

Finally, the Kashmiri separatists, to some extent, came in favour of Indian democratic set up as the only effective means and platform to project their demand and grievances in a legitimate way, rather than choosing the extreme half. The valley has certainly seen a sea of change in the attitude of pro-freedom groups, as lately the leaders of moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference expressed their readiness to participate in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The president of the breakaway faction of the People's Conference, Sajjad Lone, following his father Abdul Gani Lone’s progressive and liberal outlook, has announced his candidature from north Kashmir's Baramulla seat. He cited his decision in the larger common interest; though it has attracted stark reaction from the bloc of militant outfit based in POK, who had asked Kashmiris to boycott the polls.

Hurriyat Conference’s moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has decided not to issue a boycott call for this election citing that election is directly related to the development of the region, and nothing to do with the larger Kashmir issue; though in contrast, the chairman of the United Jihad Council, an alliance of 13 militant groups, has called for a poll boycott. However, the key factor that made the separatists to change their stand is the last assembly election in Jammu & Kashmir.

The November-December 2008 assembly election has seen overwhelming support from the people of valley to the democratic practice, defying the separatists’ boycott call. People have understood their immediate need in terms of development and growth out of the daily terror subsists in the valley. Moreover, the Kashmir issue shouldn’t be subside to mere a faction of people who have ever since adopting the violent path without any constructive end.

Hurriyat’s present stand is certainly a positive change; call it for the betterment of the valley while accepting people’s aspiration or the veracity that in a democracy there is solution to every problem through dialogue. The issue of Kashmir can be better addressed on a democratic platform when each and every section of the valley places their opinion. There’s no point to dictate under the same term while jeopardising the life of those who are fighting for. As Lone said, it might be only a “change of strategy, not of ideology”, but at least for the sake of the people of Kashmir as a whole.

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