CAMPUS: The talk on “The Idea of India in Jammu And Kashmir” organised by the Department of Political Science on Thursday witnessed a diversity of opinions expressed by the panelists.
The discussion involved the views on the possibilities of having a referendum in Kashmir and its relevance, the importance of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and its contradiction with Article 236 and 237; and also the way the media projects J&K to India and to the rest of the world.
The panelists for the eve were Mr Aijaz Rahi, a Kashmiri by birth and now a journalist at Associated Press; B R Muthu Kumar, former Indian Ambassador to Tajikistan, Belarus, Lithuania and Azerbaijan; Prof M J Vinod, Professor of Political Science in Bangalore University (BU); and Dr Suba Chandran, former visiting faulty member of University of Jammu, J&K and currently the professor of International Strategic and Security Studies in National Institute Of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.
The co-coordinator of the talk was Fr Ambrose Pinto SJ, the principal of St Aloysius Degree College, Bangalore and the former principal of SJC (Autonomous), Bangalore.
“Kashmir can’t be independent, it has to be either with India or with Pakistan” said Mr B R Muthu Kumar, provoking a heated discussion within the panel and in the audience.
Dr Suba Chandran addressed the role of media in shaping perceptions about Kashmir amongst Indians and an international audience. “We don’t see Kashmir the way Kashmiris want us to see them” he said. The argument he placed was the fear that Jammu and Kashmir mustn’t become Jammu vs. Kashmir
Mr Aijaz Rahi said “It’s not easy to report facts always; the media never gave the entire picture. In that case, the Government also didn’t.” He spoke about Kashmir being colonized since 1947, and how India is curbing the voice of Kashmir. ”It’s not why Burhan Wani was killed rather why he became what he was killed for is the issue; while he was a terrorist for most of us, he was a martyr for some.” He finished his speech saying “Kashmir saw a lot from 1947 to AK47.”
The question of hatred of Kashmiris for Indians and vice-versa was raked up by the audience and Mr Rahi responded saying “When the situations are under control, lakhs of domestic tourists come to Kashmir. Have you ever heard that a tourist got injured or is been harassed, why not if there’s so much of hatred?”