Churches Hail Survey Showing Kashmiri Preference for India

NEW DELHI, India, JUNE 6, 2002 ( The United Christian Forum (UCF) welcomed a survey result showing the vast majority of Kashmiris prefer to be part of India rather than of Pakistan, the Catholic agency SAR News reported.

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«We heartily welcome and endorse the result of the survey made by British-based Mori International, which shatters the claims made by Pakistan that Kashmiris want independence from India,» said Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi, president of the UCF.

«This nails the lies spread by separatists and terrorists and gives us a chance to look at the whole problem from a new perspective,» he added.

UCF comprises the Catholic Bishops´ Conference of India, the National Council of Churches in India, and Evangelical Fellowship of India.

According to the Mori International survey, 92% of Kashmiris oppose any division of Jammu and Kashmir, while 61% of Kashmiris believe they are much better off politically and economically as Indian citizens.

The survey, conducted April 22-28, found that 86% of Kashmiris, including 78% of Muslims, believe the militants must leave the valley for peace to be maintained. And 39% of Muslims accused Pakistan of fueling militancy.

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