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Civil Society Groups Seek Obama's Intervention in Kashmir Resolution

By Fayaz Wani

Srinagar, Nov 4: Several civil society groups, political organizations, lawyers and the student's union in Indian administered Kashmir have sought US President Barack Obama's intervention in resolving over six decades long Kashmir dispute.

In the memorandum signed by co-convener International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and Professor, Department of Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Advocate Mihir Desai, Legal Counsel, International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir and Advocate, Mumbai High Court and Supreme Court of India, Chamber of Commerce and Industries - Kashmir, Kashmir Trade Union Council, Kashmir Minorities Front, Majlis-e-Mashawarat, Shopian, Kashmir University Students Union, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Koshish, People's Rights Movement and Kashmir Hussainee Trust, the civil society members urged the United States to act responsibly in seeking access to India's markets and in attempting to reposition their role in Afghanistan.

"We urge President Obama to bring up the "Kashmir" word, as Kashmir has been pejoratively labelled, in his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. We ask that in seeking stronger relations with India, the United States not compromise the rights of Kashmiri people or regional peace and security concerns in South Asia which act as deterrents to resolutions of past partitions and current conflicts, and which prevent the integration of South Asia into responsible global economic units," said the groups.

The memorandum also urged the international community, including civil society and the governments of the European Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference, China, and others support Kashmir's demands of the United Nations (and respect the history of United Nations Resolutions on Kashmir).

"The international community should bring their judicious counsel to persuading the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan to initiate meaningful exchanges, engagements, and reconciliations between Kashmiri people across borders as a precondition to conflict resolution," they said.

The Groups urged the Government of India to end hostilities on Kashmiri people, and formally recognize the right of Kashmiris to determine their future. "In an attempt to convince the global community of its ability to practise power responsibly, the Indian State must practise accountability and atonement with respect to Kashmir.

The negligence, indifference, and callousness that has delayed the resolution of the Kashmir dispute continues to have serious repercussions on the everyday lives of Kashmiris, as it defers hope and prosperity, as well as Kashmiri entitlements to rights, liberties, and freedoms that are universally recognized as inalienable," the memorandum reads.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.

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