(Business Standard) Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre holds national workshop


A national workshop for academicians and media was organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre in New Delhi on March 27 and 28.

The workshop was attended by delegates from all chapters of the study centre across India and many invitees from the media and educational institutions.

"It is not as if the security forces are above the law in Jammu and Kashmir. They are, in fact, governed by a different more stringent set of laws," said noted defence and security analyst Jaibans Singh, who is also the editor of www.defenceinfo.com and author of a book titled 'Jammu and Kashmir: The tide turns'.

The Jammu Kashmir Study Centre, which was set up in 2012 to disseminate information on legal, historical, political, economic and cultural issues of Jammu and Kashmir, aims at increasing awareness and advocating its views on the strategically important state. It endeavours to bring untouched facts and information out in the public domain.

The Centre mainly focuses on various legal and constitutional issues related to Jammu and Kashmir like integration of the state with India, status and constitutional relevance of Article 370, social, political and economical rights of the refugees and displaced persons in Jammu and Kashmir, rights of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and other minorities living in the state.

The two-day workshop was designed to give an overview of the important aspects and core issues in Jammu and Kashmir in a manner that would clear any misconceptions that the people harbour about the actual situation in the state. Such misconceptions rise due to misinformation campaigns by various vested interests.

Legal experts touched upon the status of Article 370 and held the view that being a temporary legislation it has lost constitutional and social significance. The workshop also dwelt on the plight of the people of territories in the occupation of Pakistan, especially Gilgit-Baltistan where the Pakistan Government has launched a concerted campaign of colonisation and loot of its abundant natural resources, even as the ethnic Shia population is being persecuted by state and non-state actors.

With respect to the security situation, Jaibans Singh said that terrorism was contained in Jammu and Kashmir due to synergy of the people with the security forces. He held forth the view that fed up of the atrocities heaped upon them by terrorists, the people of the state stood up courageously to support the security forces for eradication of this menace. The people provided information to the security forces about the whereabouts of the terrorists despite threats and many killings in reprisal. On the basis of this information and under legal protection provided by AFSPA, the security forces launched counter-terrorist operations that led to neutralisation of the terrorists.

The existing scenario of peace in Jammu and Kashmir has come by due to immense sacrifices by the people and the security forces. The blood of the locals has been spilt indiscriminately by the ruthless and barbaric terrorists.

In the Army war memorial at Headquarters Northern Command in Udhampur, there are inscribed the names of more than 12,000 brave Indian soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of the nation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The peace gained by such great sacrifice needs to be nurtured. This is possible only by maintaining the highest level of vigilance.

The effort to spread terror and disaffection in Jammu and Kashmir is continuing. This has become quite evident from the terror attacks in Jammu region (Samba and Kathua) let alone the Kashmir valley.

The consensus at the workshop was that any hasty action to change the political and security paradigm would not be appropriate.