Shabnam Lone wants all sections in Kashmir to come together

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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New Delhi, Aug.5 (ANI): While the ongoing protests and unabated violence has projected Srinagar as 'a city of stone-pelters' and violent protestors, some intellectuals in Kashmir believe that all parties-the separatist as well as the mainstream-need to come together and allow peace to prevail.

Daughter of the late Abdul Ghani Lone, and chief of the Peoples Conference, Ms. Shabnam Lone has made an appeal for all groups to come together.

In an interview to Power Politics, Ms. Lone, who is today a well-known Supreme Court lawyer, said that she has always believed that "Kashmir is for all Kashmiris and none should be discriminated here on the grounds of caste, creed and religion."

Talking about the ongoing violent protests and repeated failure to ensure peace at all levels, Ms. Lone said: "At present, there is raw anger in the youngsters about human rights violation in the state. There is rampant corruption here. It has created a big chasm between the people and the government. There are a number of NGOs in the state. But they have failed to come up to the expectation of the people."

"The Kashmir State is being generously allotted funds from Delhi. Where does the money go? So youngsters have, of late, picked up stones. These are the stones of anger. They have no jobs. Some people or groups may have been paid for it. But thousands of people who join them are not paid. Everybody is not paid," Ms. Lone added.

She says the basic issue should now be addressed. A proper dialogue among different parties is necessary. "Every Kashmiri has a stake in peace and progress. Kashmir cannot remain in a political conflict forever. Why should generation after generation suffer in Kashmir?," Ms. Lone asks. s. Lone observes that it is a very difficult time for Kashmir. Everyday people are dying and these deaths signify disaster. That has made even the most apolitical person ready to join the mob.

"People have a sense of insecurity. I wish all parties, the separatist as well as the mainstream, come together and let an atmosphere of peace prevails in Kashmir," said Ms. Lone. s. Lone says that she has always believed that the Kashmir fabric is pluralist and secular. "We, Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims and all, have co-existed here for generations. The valley is of Sufis and Saints, of Sharda Peeth (highest seat of learning) .... But we have lost our glorious past."

Ms. Lone says having watched money's role in contesting elections, she felt disturbed and decided to keep herself away from politics.

Replying to another question related to political scenario in Kashmir, Ms. Lone said: "You know in Kashmir every second person has floated a party....... Kashmiris today need understanding.

They are to be made aware that Kashmir is the problem everybody is selling around for certain petty interests but none is doing anything meaningful in the matter. This attitude has to be changed." (ANI)

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