News / Asia

Delegation of Indian Lawmakers Visits Indian Kashmir

Minister of Home Affairs of India P. Chidambaram
Minister of Home Affairs of India P. Chidambaram
Anjana Pasricha

A delegation of Indian lawmakers has visited Indian-controlled Kashmir to explore ways of ending unrest in the troubled region, where more than 100 people have been killed in anti-India protests.  But prominent separatist leaders in the Kashmir valley refused to hold official talks with the delegation.

Led by India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the lawmakers drove through heavily guarded, deserted streets in Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar, which was under tight curfew for the eighth straight day.

The delegation represents all major national parties.  Its mission is to evolve a political consensus on how to calm a region where growing demands for freedom from Indian rule have led to waves of protests, and deadly confrontations between security forces and residents.

More protests were witnessed on Monday near the town of Sopore, where a woman had been killed in firing by security forces on Sunday.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram struck a note of conciliation saying he wanted to know what Kashmiri leaders think needs to be done to end the unrest. "We are here to listen to your views.  We will give you a patient hearing," Chidambaram said.  

The delegation held talks with representatives of pro-India parties in Kashmir, who urged more autonomy for the region.

But the biggest separatist alliance in the Kashmir valley, the Huriyat Conference, refused to meet the delegation.  Huriyat leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, called the visit a "farce", saying that curfews have converted much of Kashmir into a jail.

Farooq slammed the Indian government as "undemocratic" for putting most Huriyat leaders under house arrest while at the same time inviting them for talks.  "The façade of dialogue they are creating ... and trying to give the impression government of India is very serious," he says, "they are absolutely not serious at all."

But a handful of lawmakers reached out to key separatist leaders by meeting them at their homes.

In one such meeting, a hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, warned that normalcy will not return to Kashmir until New Delhi accepts that it is a disputed region.

The Huriyat alliance struck a more moderate note.  It sent a memorandum to the delegation saying it is willing to engage in dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute that is acceptable to India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan.  While some separatist leaders favor independence from India, others want it joined with Pakistan.  

On Tuesday, the delegation will travel to Jammu, the predominantly Hindu region in the Jammu and Kashmir state.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs