‘Don’t divide Kashmir on communal lines’

Srinagar, Nov 30 (IANS) A civil society group on Monday called for religious tolerance in Jammu and Kashmir and warned against its division on communal lines.

Nearly a dozen members of newly formed group J&K Reconciliation Front stood at the city centre Lal Chowk with banners calling for religious harmony and a “progressive Kashmir”.

The campaigners included members of the Kashmiri Sikh, Muslim and Pandit communities who pressed for mutual trust and goodwill among followers of different faiths.

“What will we gain from religious bickering and strife? How long politicians of all hue and cry continue to mislead us for their political gains?

“There is an urgent need of removing any misunderstanding among different religions whose faithful have co-existed in Kashmir for centuries,” said Sandeep Mawa, chairman of the Front, during the group’s “Hug Campaign” in Srinagar on Monday.

Mawa, a 38-year-old Kashmiri Pandit and a doctor by profession, formed the group a year ago with an aim to raise awareness for building a ‘Naya Kashmir’ with a positive and progressive outlook.

“All religions teach us humanity and before becoming a good Muslim or Hindu or a Sikh, we need to be a good human being first,” he said.

“If India says Kashmir is its crown, then the crown needs to be looked after. How can the body work normally if its head is suffering from ailments?” Mawa asked IANS.

He said nobody can dismiss the need for a resolution of the Kashmir issue.

“Let us give peace a chance as the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved for peace, progress and development of the state.

“Let India and Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir build consensus over the issue. And even people on both sides of Kashmir also meet so as to develop a way forward,” he added.

Mawa said the group will launch campaigns in Delhi and outside parliament to put its viewpoint before the larger society.

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