Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that 90 percent of Kashmiris want peace and he suggested that the solution to the Kashmir problem can only come from them.
The Art of Living (AOL) founder after the launch of South Asian Forum For Peace in Jammu asserted, “Solution to Kashmir (issue) will only come from Kashmiris themselves. They have to bring out the solution themselves. We are creating this forum for such pragmatic thinking and progressive ideas to make the country stronger.”
The conference “Kashmir Back to Paradise”, was organized by the AOL, attended by multiple stakeholders, women, youth leaders, parents’ bodies, select Kashmiri NGOs, entrepreneurs, Sufi leaders, media, representatives of Sikh community and dissenters, persons in art and culture. Also, AOL brought together the stone pelters, former militants and victims of militancy.
This is for the first time in recent months that such a large representation of stakeholders from Jammu and Kashmir came together for the dialogue process on peaceful Kashmir.
Sri Sri continued that some intruders creating terror and the people of Kashmir are suffering. “In Kashmir, people are restraining themselves from opening their mouth due to the threat of guns. 90 percent of the people want peace and development but their voice is being silenced.”
The spiritual guru said that the forum has been created to promote peace by “taking people of shades” and hold debate, dialogue and discussion together for peace, progress and development of the valley.
He stated that the people who were involving in stone pelting are now talking peace. The people have come to the forum for the peace initiative. Those people who were in militancy, stone pelting and in drug addiction have taken part in the conference.
He continued, the media was not projecting it and others were ignoring. “They are the neglected population and there is a need for a platform for them to air their voices openly.”
The AOL chief said, “The conflict has become the cash cow for some people. They don’t want to put an end to it. This has become a source of earning for them. But the common people are facing the brunt of it. They need to come forward and isolate those people.”
Sri Sri stated Kashmir’s biggest problem was drug addiction and the youths were trying hard to come out of this problem. “The problem in Kashmir is the trust-deficit. We need to change this environment.”
He explained there was a need for a short term goal and long term plan. “We will hold such a conference in Kashmir”.
The AOL founder addressing the gathering and said he was not here with a ready made solution but all the people have to come together to find a solution for this problem.
According to a release issued by AOL, some of those who participated including Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Subrata Saha, journalist Nizam Ud Din Bhat, Kashmiri historian My Ting, Central University of Jammu V-C Ashok Aima and economist and former adviser to the World Bank and IMF, Prof Nisar Ali.
The release added the forum will span eight South Asian countries to bring them together to work in areas like the educational partnership, cultural exchange, entrepreneurship, women empowerment and skill development.
On PM Modi’s demonetization move
The spiritual guru acclaimed PM Modi’s decision of banning old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes. He said this is a very important step to curbing black money.
He added there is now some trouble in the process could be improved but people will bear that for the bigger cause.