Bipin Trivedi aliens at dataone.in
Fri Nov 5 20:57:35 IST 2010


(AFP) - May 27, 2010

SRINAGAR, India - Less than half of residents in both the Indian and
Pakistani zones of Kashmir favour independence as a solution to end unrest
in the disputed Himalayan region, a survey said Thursday.

Conducted by British academic Robert Bradnock, the independent survey found
that 44 percent of people in Pakistani-administered Kashmir favour
independence, and 43 percent in Indian-administered Kashmir.

United Nations resolutions soon after the partition of the sub-continent in
1947 called for a plebiscite to determine whether the region should belong
to India or Pakistan, both of which claim Kashmir in full.

"These results support the already widespread view that the plebiscite
options are likely to offer no solution to the dispute," said the survey,
which was released by the London-based Chatham House think-tank.

Titled "Kashmir: Paths to Peace", it was a rare attempt to assess the
opinions of people on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC) -- the de
facto border that splits the region between the two rival nations.

"Any solution will depend on the Indian and Pakistani governments?
commitment to achieving a permanent settlement," Bradnock said.
The survey interviewed about 3,800 people to record their views on how they
saw the future of Kashmir -- a scenic region that has been a constant source
of tension between India and Pakistan.

In the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, which has been at the heart of a
20-year-old insurgency against Indian rule, between 74 percent and 95
percent respondents favoured independent Kashmir.

But in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region -- which is also part of Indian
Kashmir -- support for independence dwindled to less than one percent.
The survey found that the "overwhelming majority" of people wanted a
solution to the dispute, even though there were no "simple fixes".
More than 47,000 people have died in Indian Kashmir since the eruption of
the insurgency in 1989.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, but a
recent peace process has brought a reduction in violence.

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