Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has once again urged New Delhi and Islamabad to set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe human rights abuses in their respective parts of Kashmir.
“I have always said a truth and reconciliation commission should be formed by India and Pakistan to find out what happened in Jammu and Kashmir during the last 25 years and who is responsible for that,” he told media in Srinagar.
“There is a record (on human rights) for past 26 years and that should be opened. If India and Pakistan can cooperate on Pathankot-like incidents, they should set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for healing the wounds”.
Omar, as he himself reiterated, has always stood for the Truth and Reconciliation. He first mooted the idea in 2008 when he was again in opposition. He sought to pursue the demand once in power. Though he raised the issue many a time over his six years in power but nothing was done to appoint such a commission, for which he needs both New Delhi and Islamabad on board.
In 2011, in a 27 page Action Taken Report submitted to State Human Rights Commission over the then discovery of 2700 unmarked graves, J&K Government led by Omar said it had mooted the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the state in the context of the unmarked graves.
“The honorable CM was pleased to mention that the Government shall look into all the aspects relating to the establishment of such a Commission. The CM also raised the issue of setting up of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the meeting of the National Integration Council held in New Delhi in September 2011,” the report said.
The report further stated that the constitution of Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the State would however require consultation and broad consensus among all the stakeholders.
Speaking in the Assembly in the same year, Omar explained Truth and Reconciliation Commission as “an Indo-Pak joint strategy in the form of a ‘Jammu and Kashmir centric’ confidence building measure so that all aspects of militancy, its origin, its impact on people, issues of disappearance, migration and many more related concerns are studied threadbare and addressed accordingly for reconciliation and healing”.
And in 2014, Omar spoke about the commission on the politically loaded day of January 19 which Muslims in Valley remember for the massacre of 52 people by the security forces at Gawkadal in Srinagar and Kashmiri Pandits remember as the day of their exodus from Valley.
“Whether it’s the Kashmiri Pandit exodus or incidents like Gawkadal, that is why India & Pakistan owe J&K a truth & reconciliation commission,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.Com.
However, National Conference rival and the now the would-be ruling party PDP has opposed such commission. “We believe is that Truth and Reconciliation Commission cannot be cut and paste from South Africa to Kashmir. In South Africa there were unharmonious relations between two communities. But in Kashmir, the conflict is between State and the citizen,” senior PDP leader Naeem Akhter has said in the past. “Unless the state gives justice to its citizens, there cannot be reconciliation. We therefore want justice and resolution in Kashmir”.