Kashmiris speak out
times want India than Pakistan
vast majority of Kashmiris oppose India and Pakistan going to war
find a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir and believe
way to bring peace to the region is through democratic elections,
violence, and economic development,” says MORI (British
times as many Kashmiris want to be citizens of India than of Pakistan,
according to a major MORI poll in Kashmir, the first of its kind.
“On the issue of citizenship, overall, 61 per cent said they felt they
would be better off politically and economically as an Indian citizen
and only 6 per cent as a Pakistani citizen,” according to the report
by MORI International, the most professional and respected organisation
in the world
conducting opinion polls. In all 33 per cent said they did not know.
“Overall, two thirds of people in Jammu and Kashmir take the view that
Pakistan’s involvement in the region for the last ten years has been
bad,” the MORI opinion poll shows. “Only 15 per cent believe it has
been good for the region, while 18 per cent say it has made no real
In a further indictment of Pakistani backed militancy, the MORI survey
shows that “a very clear majority of the population – 65 per cent -
believes the presence of foreign militants in Jammu and Kashmir is
damaging to the Kashmir cause, and most of the rest take the view that
it is neither damaging nor helpful.”
There is a general consensus across the regions of Kashmir that it is
not possible to hold democratic elections while violence continues –
65 per cent agree while 34 per cent disagree.
“The vast majority of Kashmiris oppose India and Pakistan going to war
to find a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir and believe the
correct way to bring peace to the region is through democratic
elections, ending violence, and economic development,” the survey
“They also believe the unique cultural identity of the region should
be preserved in any long-term solution, and there is virtually no
support for the state of Jammu and Kashmir being divided on the basis of
religion or ethnic group,” according to the survey.
These are the main findings to emerge from a poll conducted by the
independent market research company at the end of April (20-28 April
2002), just before the start of the recent escalation of conflict in the
Interviews were conducted in the Jammu and the surrounding rural areas,
Srinagar and its surrounding rural areas and in Leh. Interviewers were
set quotas for sex and religion (assessed by the interviewer) to match
the population of each region.
Although the vast majority in Jammu and Leh believe the correct way to
bring about peace is though democratic elections, “opinions are more
evenly divided in and around Srinagar,” the report says. But here too,
52 per cent agreed that democratic elections is the answer.
The vast majority - 76 per cent - of those in the Srinagar region
believe India and Pakistan should not go to war to bring about a
A suggestion that most people do not feel that the current political
parties have the solution to the problems in Kashmir is reflected in the
fact that around half, or more, of the population in each region agree
with the view that ‘a new political party is needed to bring about a
permanent solution in Kashmir’.
People in all regions are in general agreement with the comment put to
them that ‘the unique cultural identity of Jammu and Kashmir –
Kashmiryat – should be preserved in any long-term solution’.
Overall, 81 per cent agree, including 76 per cent in Srinagar and 81 per
cent in Jammu.
There is also widespread consensus on the types of proposals which will
help to bring about peace in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 85 per cent of
the population, including at least 70 per cent in each region, think the
following will help to bring about peace:
- Economic development of the region to provide more job opportunities
and reduction of poverty – 93 per cent
- The holding of free and fair elections to elect the people’s
representatives – 86 per cent
- Direct consultation between the Indian government and the people of
Kashmir – 87 per cent
- An end to militant violence in the region – 86 per cent
- Stopping the infiltration of militants across the Line of Control –
88 per cent
The critical role people see for economic development in helping to
solve the problems is further underlined by the 74 per cent who think
that ‘people from outside of Kashmir being encourage to invest in the
area to help rebuild Kashmir’s economy and tourist industry’ will
help to bring peace to the state.
There is also a widespread view, held by 80 per cent, that allowing
displaced Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes in safety will help
to bring about peace.
Views are mixed on the likely impact of ‘People in Jammu and Kashmir
having the freedom to travel in both directions across the Line of
Control’. Those in and around Srinagar and Leh generally feel this
would help to bring peace while those in Jammu take the opposite view.
An overwhelming 92 per cent oppose the state of Kashmir being divided on
the basis of religion or ethnicity. There is also overwhelming support
– 91 per cent – for a forum in which Kashmiris from both sides of
the Line of Control can discuss common interests.
A clear majority - 70 per cent - also support the borders between
Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and Indian Kashmir being opened for much
more trade and cultural exchange. However, while the views in Srinagar
and Leh were very decisive – over 90 per cent support – those in
Jammu were much more balanced – 47 per cent support, 53 per cent
Views are also split on the issue of granting more autonomy to Kashmir.
Overall 55 per cent support ‘India and Pakistan granting as much
autonomy as they can to both sides of Kashmir to govern their own
affairs’. However, while the majority in Srinagar and Leh support
this, the majority in Jammu oppose this policy.
There are also mixed views about the role and impact of the Indian
security forces. In Srinagar and Leh, at least nine out of ten believe
that security forces scaling down their operations in Jammu and Kashmir
would help to bring peace, whereas in Jammu opinions are reversed.
There are clearly different perceptions of the behaviour of the Indian
security forces. Nobody interviewed in Leh or Jammu believes that human
rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are
widespread, whereas in Srinagar 64 per cent of the population think they
Perceptions are different with respect to human rights violations by
militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir. In all 96 per cent of those in
Jammu believe such violations are widespread whereas only 2 per cent of
those in Srinagar believe they are widespread (although 33 per cent
believe they are ‘occasional’).
In total, 850 interviews were completed, face-to-face, with adults aged
16 plus across 55 localities within Jammu and Kashmir. This comprised 22
localities in Jammu City, 20 in Srinagar City and six in Leh (urban
areas), as well as in three villages around Jammu and four villages
around Srinagar (rural areas).
Quotas were set by gender, religion (assessed by observation) and
locality, according to the known population profile of the region.A
random selection procedure was used to select individual respondents.