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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid