Former Norwegian PM says world is interested in Kashmir
'Sri Sri Ravi Shankar facilitated my meeting with Kashmiri separatists'
Srinagar: Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik who was in Kashmir recently, has said that he told the Kashmiri separatist groups who he met during his visit that he does not share their views and that they must work through peaceful methods to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Speaking to The Indian Express Bondevik, who heads the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, said his visit to Kashmir and his meetings with various sections of Kashmiris, including the separatists, were “useful” and helped him to “get an overview” of the problem.
Bondevik made a surprise visit to the Valley during which he met Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, two of the three leaders of the Joint Resistance Leadership. He also met members of the chamber of commerce and the Bar Association.
Asked why he had visited Kashmir and what role he saw for himself in the state, Bondevik said he was invited by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar to visit the Valley.
“If I am asked to play a role by both (governments of India and Pakistan), I am willing to do so,” he said but he also underlined that there was no such invitation at the moment from the Indian side.
“I am not naive, I am aware that India is approaching an election,” Bondevik said adding that this was not the time to talk about an India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir. “I respect India’s position that it does not want an outsider (engaging) in Kashmir, and that its issues with Pakistan are bilateral.”
But, he said, at the same time, “we can’t ignore the fact that the international community is interested in the issue, there have been UN resolutions on Kashmir, and recently, there was a report of the UN Human Right Commission. So there is an international interest.