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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More