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India: Guns are a Means of Disempowerment - A Public Statement from Gandhians on the situation in Kashmir

18 July 2016

print version of this article print version - 16 July 2016

The recent spate in unrest and violence in Kashmir will cause nothing but anguish and torment, and a rift that will prove very difficult to overcome. Kashmir is an inseparable part of India, hence this predicament is also a part of our inheritance. Separatists and terrorists, backed by Pakistan and fundamentalist Islamists, have vitiated the atmosphere; Kashmir finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

At such a juncture, the Gandhian family has a message for the Central Government, for the Mehbooba Mufti-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, for the National Conference and for all other dissatisfied elements. We wish to assert that power does not flow from the barrel of a gun. It lies in consultation and in consultation, in the determination to find a way out of this quandary through mutualism. Guns only cause deaths; they destroy the possibility to live, to reflect and deliberate, to find a way. We cannot understand how any stakeholder would want to turn Kashmir into a graveyard.

We want to assure all our brothers and sisters in Kashmir that nobody can take away their right to disagree and refuse. History shows that Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan have both defended and advocated the cause of Kashmiriyat and the Kashmiri people, reminding governments to honour that sentiment. Likewise, it is the responsibility of the people of Kashmir to expose and discredit all the forces that dishonour the integrity and sovereignty of India. We wish to emphasise that turning back the hands of the clock of history will not bring anything other than all-round destruction.

To respond with violence to the violence of the State is the path to defeat and failure. This has been proved over and over, across the world. It has been demonstrated that the coercive power of the State is ineffective against a people who are peaceful, patient and determined in their quest for democracy. When the people of Kashmir fight for their rights through peaceful means and with determination, they will get the support of the entire country and of all Gandhian organisations.

We wish to remind the Central and state governments their constitutional and moral authority will erode in direct proportion to the use of force and misinformation against their own people. The ballot does bring democratic power, but the sustainability of that power depends on the approval and acceptance of the people. They have to win the hearts of the people. India’s democracy and integrity depend on how speedily both the governments go about this necessity. On how determined they are to soothe the wounds, how committed they are to their citizens.

This testing time is a trial for all of us as a nation, of our maturity and our fortitude.

New Delhi, 16 July 2016.

Signed by:-

Ramchandra Rahi, Secretary,
Central Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Rajghat, New Delhi 110002
Mobile: +919868863735 | email: gandhismaraknidhi73 at
A. Annamalai, Director/Secretary,
Gandhi Museum, Rajghat, New Delhi 110002
Mobile: +919444183198 | email: nationalgandhimuseum at
Kumar Prashant, Chairman
Gandhi Peace Foundation, 221 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi 110002
Mobile: +919999486754, +919818323936 | email: gpf18 at
Anupam Mishra
Editor, Gandhi Marg
Gandhi Peace Foundation, 221 Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi 110002