Srinagar, October 27
The Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh has invited all the political parties and groups, including the separatist leaders, to begin exploring a joint solution for peace in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Prime Minister has once again excluded the voices of 50 per cent of the population in the process.
We, the Athwaas members – an alliance of women from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – welcome and support the initiative, but we strongly urge the Honorable Prime Minister to include women’s perspectives, insights and understanding in the dialogue process to ensure a long lasting, creative and sustainable solution. In the last 20 years of political unrest and continued violence, it has been the women who have held the fabric of the society, their families and communities together. They have rejected violence as a means to achieve political goals and reached out to adversaries for rebuilding human relationships.
Athwaas will be submitting a memorandum to the Honorable Prime Minister during his two-day visit to Kashmir regarding the inclusion of women in the dialogue process.
Athwaas has been working at the grassroots level and with civil society groups since the year 2000. We have been working for women’s solidarity across regional, religious and ethnic divisions by creating safe places for women to come together. Athwaas continues to reach out and partner with men in search for sustainable peace in the region.