BENGALURU: The Art of Living, founded by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, brought together multiple stakeholders including ex-militants, families of victims of militancy, youth leaders, women, entrepreneurs, parents’ bodies, select Kashmiri NGOs, Sufi leaders, academics, media, persons in art and culture, representatives of the Sikh community and dissenters, including those who resorted to stone-pelting, to deliberate and have a dialogue on the situation in Kashmir as part of the ‘Kashmir Back to Paradise’ conference.
It is for the first time in recent months that such a diverse and large representation of stakeholders from Jammu and Kashmir came together for a dialogue on peaceful and prosperous Kashmir.
“Many of you have traveled 12 and 15 hours to get here because you are deeply pained by what has happened in the recent months,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, addressing the gathering. “I have not come here with a ready-made solution. We all have to come together, will sit together and find a solution. Solutions cannot be found in the streets, not with stones and guns,” he said.
Some of those from the valley who participated included Kashmiri historian My Ting, journalist Nizam Ud Din Bhat, Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Subrata Saha, economist and former adviser to the World Bank and IMF, Prof Nisar Ali, and Central University of Jammu V-C Ashok Aima, according to a release issued by AoL.
“There are many sane voices which are unheard. The common man is caught between hartaal and curfews. So there is a dire need for a platform where common people can express their opinions and ideas. So I thought we should come together and form a platform, the South Asian Forum for Peace,’’ said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
The Forum will span eight South Asian countries to bring them together, to co-operate and work in areas such as entrepreneurship, skill development, cultural exchange, educational partnerships and women empowerment initiatives among others, the release added.