Need to change mindset of Jammu and Kashmir people: Sinha

August 4th, 2008 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban

Patna, Aug 4 (IANS) Underlining the need to change the mindset of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the state’s former governor Lt. Gen. (retd) S.K. Sinha has called for continuing developmental efforts to counter separatist forces. “I strongly feel that there is an urgent need to change the mindset, to continue doing good things in Kashmir,” Sinha said.

“I still feel that there is a silent majority in Kashmir, people who are not ready to speak out (against terrorism) at the moment. But there is a need to cultivate them and build their confidence to make them air their views,” Sinha told a seminar on the Amarnath Yatra 2008 here Sunday night, organised by the Citizen’s Forum for National Integration.

He said the best way to fight terrorism was to make all-out efforts to revive and promote Kashmiriyat, the unique heritage of Kashmir. Kashmiriyat stands for peace, tolerance and harmony among all three religions of the region - Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, he said.

“But today, Kashmir seems to be lost to the Taliban and all efforts to instil Kashmiriyat have gone up in flames,” Sinha said.

Criticising the “unnecessarily defensive and apologetic” stance of New Delhi on the Kashmir issue, he added: “But let me assure you, no amount of political appeasement would help solve the issue.”

Commenting on the controversy over land transfer to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) earlier this year when he was the governor and ex-officio head of the board, he said: “The innocuous issue has been raked up with the accusation that the shrine board was trying to change the demography of the place.”

The SASB had been given 40 hectares of forest land for providing facilities to Hindu pilgrims, but following widespread protests in the Kashmir Valley, the state government had backtracked — only to face protests from the Jammu region which continue even a month later.

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