In an effort to bring peace, Indian spiritual leader and the founder of Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar brought together the members of about 200 families of militants, security personnel and other victims of the Kashmir unrest
In an effort to bring peace, Indian spiritual leader and the founder of Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar brought together the members of about 200 families of militants, security personnel and other victims of the Kashmir unrest. The initiative named Paigam-e-Mohabbat, held in the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday, saw the members of the violence-hit families expressing their hopes for peace, as per a report by The Indian Express. Explaining that his initiative is ‘completely independent’ of the government, Ravi Shankar told The Indian Express, “These efforts have been on for a long time, but they have now reached a critical stage and I see it assuming a bigger shape now.’’ He further added, “There is a lot to be done. There is nothing to be gained from blaming each other.’’ He said a mediator for peace in Kashmir must not refuse to talk to anyone, even separatists. The event comes at a time when the Centre special representative Dineshwar Sharma is in Jammu and Kashmir to hold talks. Last year, Ravi Shankar had planned to talk to stakeholders in the Kashmir problem, including separatists, but the efforts were halted after violence escalated in Kashmir. In August last year, Muzaffar Wani, father of the slain militant Burhan Wani, visited the Art of Living ashram and discussed several issues with Ravishankar.
A former militant Farook Ahmed Dar, after the meeting, said, “If he comes forward, people will talk to him because he has worked for long in Kashmir. Hurriyat has refused to talk to the government representative. If Gurudev (Ravishankar) steps forward, even (Hurriyat chairman) S A Geelani will talk to him.’’ People, who attended the event wished the initiative could bring a positive change to the valley. Neha Tripathi, a widow of CRPF officer Pramod Kumar, who died on duty in the Valley last year, said, “When I came here, I did not know that I would be sharing a platform with people from Kashmir. Later, I understood that it was part of Gurudev’s efforts for peace.’’However, some seemed skeptical of the success of the initiative. “Gurudev told us he is willing to do anything for us, but what can he do? Can he give us money, jobs, livelihood,” asked 26-year-old Arshed L, who lost his elder brother to violence over a decade ago. “People will not open up here out of fear of who is watching. Nobody will speak their mind.’’