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We must tread with caution on Kashmir

H.K. DUA’s front-page editorial, “India cannot be at war with itself” (Aug 8) is timely and thought provoking. While the government is constitutionally and legally bound to treat separatists as traitors and punish them as such, the powers that be seem to be lacking the courage to describe, much less deal with, them as such.

The separatists have fully used this indecisiveness to their advantage, changed the demographic composition to their advantage and have intensified their “struggle for freedom”.

A division of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of religion must be avoided at any cost. For 60 long years, the residents of the state have enjoyed special provisions, constitutional as well as financial, but to what end?

If we are unable to find a way out, wisdom lies in learning from others. We have before us the example of the USA and what it did to save the country in the early days of its democracy. We also have the example of China and the way it has solved the identical problem of Tibet.

The moral of the story is that there is nothing more important than the territorial integrity of the country and those who challenge the very existence of a nation deserve no mercy.

Dr L.R. SHARMA, Solan


Much water has flowed down the Tawi and the Chenab rivers since the trouble broke out in Jammu and Kashmir over the issue of land allotment to the Amarnath Shrine Board. The political leaders behaved irresponsibly and so did the government.

Instead of stepping in quickly, the Centre allowed the cauldron to boil - first in the Kashmir Valley and then in Jammu. The violence claimed many lives and injured many others. In addition, the conflict has lacerated the state.

This issue could have been solved quickly if what is being done now had been done earlier. The matter should be sorted out now in a spirit of give and take and the political parties should bury their differences on this issue. Blame game won’t do. More dangerous is the religious divide which secular India cannot afford at this juncture.

R.J. KHURANA, Bhopal


Political parties forget that every issue cannot be used for their own interest. And when the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir is in question, one has to tread with caution.

Mr Dua has rightly advised people from all walks of life to dissociate themselves from violence that had erupted on the issue of land allotment and subsequent cancellation for the Amarnath shrine. Their support will give a big boost to national unity. I agree that national interest should be uppermost in our mind. Selfishness and rigidity of some politicians for gaining political mileage needs to be condemned by one and all. Shrines should be treated as national assets, cutting across party and religious lines and everyone should show due respect to them.

Dr KAMALJEET KAUR SEKHON, Thapar University, Patiala

Bow out gracefully, Pervez

Except some last-minute development, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's political fate is almost sealed. After marathon talks that often aroused bewilderment, if not contempt, the two major parties and their allies in the grand coalition announced in Islamabad that it was “imperative” to impeach the President.

No Pakistani head of state has so far been impeached. If the move succeeds, it will take the country into a new political culture. No doubt, President Musharraf will try to fight back, but given the heavy odds stacked against him and the unity shown by his political opponents in and out of Parliament, he would be well advised to bow out gracefully.

J.S. ACHARYA, Hyderabad



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