They see blueprint of 'free' Kashmir in US vision for Palestine - By Tariq Bhat Back   Home  
The idea of comparing Kashmir with Palestine might be blasphemous for New Delhi, but many separatists in the Valley see a glimmer of hope in America's vision of independent Palestinian state to curb terrorism.

The supporters of an independent Kashmir, in particular, believe that Kashmir's case can be argued with America on similar grounds.

Leader of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmed Shah sees a link between Palestine and Kashmir. ``If America understands that Palestinian issue needs to be address to curb violence, then same applies to Kashmir,'' Shah said.

"If the issue of Kashmir would have been resolved, then the unfortunate incident like the one we had on October 1 would not have happened. Our party has kept its options open. We can even have a referendum like in East Timor,'' Shah said.

A senior Hurriyat leader, of the independent lobby said on the condition of anonymity that they were encouraged by America's realisation that issues need to be treated at the root level to end militancy.

"We have maintained that Kashmir is a nuclear flash point and a potential battle ground for jehadis. The moderate elements are always vulnerable to hardliners and especially the religious elements in Kashmir. Well the realisation is slowly dawning on the world and America that problem areas with Islamic angle need to be addressed,'' he said.

The separatist are taking heart from the fact that Americans have made favourable noises regarding the issue of militancy in Kashmir, that speaks of their desire to address the issue.

A senior pro-independence JKLF leader said they see a ray of hope in America's vision for Palestine. ``If Palestinian issue is important from the American point of view to prevent acts like World Trade Centre and Pentagon from recurring, then they can better understand that Kashmir issue to calls for a resolution to prevent further bloodshed and clash between India and Pakistan,'' he said.

Interestingly, the supporters of independent Kashmir are more than happy.

Their believe that their disapproval of militancy in Kashmir will gain support and their agenda of an independent Kashmir will also gain acceptance if America extends its war against terrorism to Kashmir.

In fact, George W Bush's vision of a Palestinian state could also prove disturbing for many in New Delhi. If Palestinain state becomes a reality, there can be no guarantee that the US will not coerce India and Pakistan for negotiated settlement of Kashmir.
Published in Indian Express.