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Bring back Kashmiri pandits and seek their views: Bhushan

October 16, 2011 22:44 IST

Kashmiri Pandits should be brought back and their views taken into consideration said advocate, social activist Prashant Bhushan, who is also a core committee member in Anna Haraze's team on Saturday, at the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bhushan made the above statement on being asked who these people he wanted to get a referendum from were, as most of the Kashmiri pandits were no more in Kashmir.

"We need to normalise the situation in Kashmir. The current problem is the situation in Kashmir is leading to a greater alienation among the people of Kashmir. If it is not checked it will eventually lead to very serious problems. You cannot control it with the help of the army," Bhushan told

Giving an example of the United States, he said that today even US cannot control Afghanistan by armed force.

"Therefore we have to normalise the situation for which the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) needs to be withdrawn," said Bhushan. "Once the army is withdrawn, we could give autonomy and hope to win over hearts and minds of the people there," added Bhushan.

The lawyer reiterated that if the great sense of alienation still persisted then the only pragmatic way in his view… is to allow the referendum. "All people including the Kashmiri pandits, those who are not in Kashmir presently should also be given the voice," said Bhushan.

He also stated that he never asked for separating Kashmir from India, but added, "You cannot have a forced marriage."

Bhushan said that even after the referendum if the sense of alienation persisted, "I said let us allow the divorce, the point is you cannot force people to submit, because that is a counter productive situation."

Bhushan said he wasn't able to talk to social activist Anna Hazare after his statement on Kashmir and the statement Anna Hazare made to the media. "I wasn't able to talk him. His views are very different and my views are on the basis of my experience and it is my view."

Bhushan said there are there are lot of people in the core group who come from very different experiences and background. Everybody's views in the group cannot be identical.

Bhushan, who was in San Francisco Bay Area, attended and received an award by the Indians for Collective Action, a San Francisco based non-profit that invited Anna Hazare's team to the US to attend their 2011 annual banquet that honored Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan and Dr Paul Polak for their work in their respected fields.
Ritu Jha in San Francisco Bay Area