Kashmiris Reject War In Favour Of Democratic Means

MORI publishes results of major new survey

Kashmiris Reject War In Favour Of Democratic Means

MORI publishes results of major new survey

The vast majority of Kashmiris oppose India and Pakistan going to war to find a permanent solution to the situation in Kashmir and believe the correct way to bring peace to the region is through democratic elections, ending violence, and economic development.

They also believe the unique cultural identity of the region should be preserved in any long-term solution, and there is virtually no support for the state of Jammu and Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnic group.

These are the main findings to emerge from a poll conducted by the independent market research company, MORI International, at the end of April (20-28 April 2002), just before the start of the recent escalation of conflict in the region.

Interviews were conducted in the Jammu and the surrounding rural areas, Srinagar and its surrounding rural areas and in Leh. Interviewers were set quotas for sex and religion (assessed by the interviewer) to match the population of each region.

Although the vast majority in Jammu and Leh believe the correct way to bring about peace is though democratic elections, opinions are more evenly divided in and around Srinagar, with a bare majority (52%) agreeing with this view.

Nevertheless, the vast majority -- 76% -- of those in the Srinagar region believe India and Pakistan should not go to war to bring about a permanent solution.

There is a general consensus across the regions that it is not possible to hold democratic elections while violence continues -- 65% agree while 34% disagree.

A very clear majority of the population -- 65% -- believes the presence of foreign militants in Jammu and Kashmir is damaging to the Kashmir cause, and most of the rest take the view that it is neither damaging nor helpful.

Overall, two thirds of people in Jammu and Kashmir take the view that Pakistan's involvement in the region for the last ten years has been bad. Only 15% believe it has been good for the region, while 18% say it has made no real difference.

On the issue of citizenship, overall, 61% said they felt they would be better off politically and economically as an Indian citizen and only 6% as a Pakistani citizen, but 33% said they did not know.

A suggestion that most people do not feel that the current political parties have the solution to the problems in Kashmir is reflected in the fact that around half, or more, of the population in each region agree with the view that 'a new political party is needed to bring about a permanent solution in Kashmir'.

People in all regions are in general agreement that 'the unique cultural identity of Jammu and Kashmir -- Kashmiryat -- should be preserved in any long-term solution'. Overall, 81% agree, including 76% in Srinagar and 81% in Jammu.

There is also widespread consensus on the types of proposals which will help to bring about peace in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 85% of the population, including at least 70% in each region, think the following will help to bring about peace:

  • Economic development of the region to provide more job opportunities and reduction of poverty -- 93%
  • The holding of free and fair elections to elect the people's representatives -- 86%
  • Direct consultation between the Indian government and the people of Kashmir -- 87%
  • An end to militant violence in the region -- 86%
  • Stopping the infiltration of militants across the Line of Control -- 88%

The critical role people see for economic development in helping to solve the problems is further underlined by the 74% who think that 'people from outside of Kashmir being encourage to invest in the area to help rebuild Kashmir's economy and tourist industry' will help to bring peace to the state.

There is also a widespread view, held by 80%, that allowing displaced Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes in safety will help to bring about peace.

Views are mixed on the likely impact of 'People in Jammu and Kashmir having the freedom to travel in both directions across the Line of Control'. Those in and around Srinagar and Leh generally feel this would help to bring peace while those in Jammu take the opposite view.

An overwhelming 92% oppose the state of Kashmir being divided on the basis of religion or ethnicity. There is also overwhelming support -- 91% -- for a forum in which Kashmiris from both sides of the Line of Control can discuss common interests.

A clear majority -- 70% -- also support the borders between Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and Indian Kashmir being opened for much more trade and cultural exchange. However, while the views in Srinagar and Leh were very decisive -- over 90% support -- those in Jammu were much more balanced -- 47% support, 53% oppose.

Views are also split on the issue of granting more autonomy to Kashmir. Overall 55% support 'India and Pakistan granting as much autonomy as they can to both sides of Kashmir to govern their own affairs. However, while the majority in Srinagar and Leh support this, the majority in Jammu oppose this policy.

There are also mixed views about the role and impact of the Indian security forces. In Srinagar and Leh, at least nine out of ten believe that security forces scaling down their operations in Jammu and Kashmir would help to bring peace, whereas in Jammu opinions are reversed.

There are clearly different perceptions of the behaviour of the Indian security forces. Nobody interviewed in Leh or Jammu believes that human rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are widespread, whereas in Srinagar 64% of the population think they are widespread.

Perceptions are different with respect to human rights violations by militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir. 96% of those in Jammu believe such violations are widespread whereas only 2% of those in Srinagar believe they are widespread (although 33% believe they are 'occasional').

Technical details

Fieldwork was carried out by FACTS Worldwide, MORI's affiliate company in India, between 20 -- 28 April 2002.

In total, 850 interviews were completed, face-to-face, with adults aged 16+ across 55 localities within Jammu and Kashmir. This comprised 22 localities in Jammu City, 20 in Srinagar City and 6 in Leh (urban areas), as well as in 3 villages around Jammu and 4 villages around Srinagar (rural areas).

Quotas were set by gender, religion (assessed by observation) and locality, according to the known population profile of the region.

A random selection procedure was used to select individual respondents.

Sample Profile

The following table details the profile of respondents by locality and religion:

LocalityTotal i'viewsBreakdown by religion (observed)
Villages nr Srinagar60582---
Villages nr Jammu712150---

Quotas were based on 1981 Census data (population in 1,000s):

 Total pop.MuslimHinduSikhBuddhistChristian
Kashmir Valley(Srinigar & surrounding areas)3,1022,977125-0.2-
Jammu region2,7178051,80310018
Ladakh(incl. Leh)134624-68-
Total 65%32%2%1%*%

Statistical Reliability

The sampling tolerances that apply to the percentage results in this report are given below. This table shows the possible variation that might be anticipated because a sample, rather than the entire population, was interviewed. As indicated, sampling tolerances vary with the size of the sample and the size of percentage results. The confidence intervals take no account of design effects and, of course, there were certain areas in each region we did not conduct interviews.

Approximate sampling tolerances applicable to percentages at or near these levels (at the 95% confidence level)

Base:10% or 90%30% or 70%50%
850 (total)233
415 (Jammu region)345
360 (Srinagar region)355
75 (Leh)71011

Source: MORI

For example, for a question where 50% of the people in a sample of 850 respond with a particular answer, the chances are 95 in 100 that this result would not vary more than 3 percentage points, plus or minus, from the result that would have been obtained from a census of the entire population using the same procedures. Tolerances are also involved in the comparison of results between different elements of the sample. A difference, in other words, must be of at least a certain size to be statistically significant. The following table is a guide to the sampling tolerances applicable to comparisons.

Differences required for significance at the 95% confidence level at or near these percentages

Base:10% or 90%30% or 70%50%
432 (Men) and 418 (Women)467
415 (Jammu region) and 360 (Srinagar region)477
415 (Jammu region) and 75 (Leh)71112
360 (Srinagar region) and 75 (Leh)81213

Source: MORI

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