In a webinar held on the 37th anniversary of diplomat Ravindra Mhatre’s killing and India’s fight against international terrorism, a panel of experts unanimously said that peace in Kashmir was a possibility only if Pakistan’s actions were curtailed and if the international community played a proactive role in the process.
Participating in the webinar, senior journalist Akhlaq Ahmed Usmani remarked that Pakistan sponsored-terrorism had hampered the peace situation in Kashmir Valley.
Usmani asserted that such actions were strictly un-Islamic and had to be discussed by the international community to fix accountability on the sponsors.
Shujaat Ali Qadri, President, Muslim Students Organisation (MSO), equated the killing of the diplomat as an “act of war against India” and highlighted the restraint India had been exercising for over three decades for the larger cause of regional peace.
He also called for reopening the investigation by British authorities, which could potentially establish stronger linkages of his murder with Pakistani authorities.
Veteran journalist Alain Chevalerias also said that the killing had links going back to Pakistan that could not absolve it of the responsibility, while adding that this incidence set the stage for full-blown terrorism in the Kashmir Valley.
“It was high time that Kashmir needed to breathe in peace, but that would only happen if terrorism would end and the role of cross-border networks in fomenting the crisis would be brought to the books”, Chevalerias said.
Mhatre was an Assistant Commissioner of the Indian High Commission in Birmingham. He was kidnapped on February 3, 1984, by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a banned outfit in India. The JKLF claimed responsibility and demanded a ransom of 1 million pounds. Later, his body was found three days later on February 6, 1984, at a sidestreet in Birmingham.
The diplomat was abducted and killed in an attempt to negotiate the release of terrorist Maqbool Bhat, founder of the JKLF. India refused to negotiate with the terrorists and Bhat was hanged to death on February 11, 1984, days after Mhatre’s body was found.