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Top intellectuals appeal countrymen to feel agony of people in Kashmir

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 29: On the eve of martyrdom day of Mahatma  Gandhi, a group of top intellectuals and think tanks  have made a fervent appeal to all citizens of India to feel  agony of fellow  brothers and sisters in Kashmir, who have suffered the loss of their near and dear ones and too many of whose children have even lost vision during the recent unrest.
“It is undoubtedly the duty of the democratically elected Government of the State of J&K to create a peaceful and humane environment in Jammu and Kashmir. But on this day as we observe the martyrdom of the Father of our nation,  we would do well to remember that this is also the responsibility of all citizens of India to their fellow citizens as that alone can help lead to meeting the aspirations of all,” they said in a joint statement, issued here today..
Maintaining that thinking citizens of the world’s foremost democracy (India) have been deeply distressed by the disturbances afflicting Kashmir since July, the statement has expressed deep concern over the grave and unfortunate situation, which led to death of   nearly a hundred people and injuries to many others.  “Most regrettably for our country, most casualties have been from among the youth, even children, many of whom could have been our leaders into the future ,” the statement added.
“We have been emotionally wounded by these unfortunate developments and as a nation we need to do everything possible to assuage their pain even when we cannot undo their loss,” said the intellectuals.
Observing that Kashmir is bound to India by sturdy laws but  only bonds of love and understanding will bind India together, these intellectuals opined that this can be secured only by giving all our citizens voice and the feeling that this is their country as much as Kashmir is part of us.
Signatories to the statement, included  Justice A P Shah (former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court),  Aruna Roy ( Founding Member, Mazdur Kisan Shakti Sanghatan), A S  Dulat (former Advisor on Kashmir to NDA Government),  Chinmaya Gharekhan ( former Ambassador to UN),  Darius Forbes (Industrialist), H K Dua (former member Rajya Sabha), Prof  H D Muni (author & former Professor in International Relations, JNU),  I  H  Latif (former Air Chief Marshal),  Begum Bilqees Latif,  Irfan Habib ( Historian & author),  Julio Ribeiro (former DGP Punjab),  Kapila Vatsayan (Chair, Asia Project, IIC),  Kalpana Sharma (senior journalist and author),  Prem Shankar Jha (senior journalist and author), Ramchandra Guha ( Historian, author & biographer),  Ronen Sen ( former Indian Ambassador to USA), Salman Haidar (former Foreign Secretary), S  K Lambah (former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India), Shyam Saran (former Foreign Secretary),  Shekhar Gupta (senior journalist & author), Gen  (R) V P Malik (former Army chief), V  Balachandran (former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat)
Prof  Zoya Hasan (Centre for Political Studies, JNU), Yashwant Sinha (former Foreign Minister),  Wajahat Habibullah (former Chairman Minorities Commission),  Kapil Kak ( Air Vice Marshal-R),   Bharat Bhushan (Editor, Catch News) and Sushobha Barve ( Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation).

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