With a message of love (paigam-e-mohabbat), Art of Living (AoL) Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Friday provided a healing touch to the victims of the long-drawn conflict in Jammu and Kashmir at an event here.
"When families affected by violence come together in a spirit of forgiveness, a new vision for a non-violent society will emerge. I am confident this will inspire the youth to take the right path," Sri Sri told the members of about 200 affected families, including 60 women from the northern border state at a day-long function here.
The AoL international centre on the city's southwest outskirts hosted the victims, including the family members of slain militants and victims of cross-firing and security personnel from across the country killed in the Kashmir Valley.
"Unless we put a balm to heal the hurt and give a new vision, the chain reaction of violence will continue. Deep inside, there is compassion in every heart. Such events will enliven that aspect and make one realise that neither violence nor blame game lead anywhere," he asserted.
Hailed as a novel beginning to foster the spirit of love, forgiveness and reconciliation among the affected people, the victims hoped the initiative would create a conducive atmosphere for peace-building in the troubled Kashmir Valley.
A heart-felt exchange of emotions marked the gathering as the families of the victims shared the pain they have gone through and renounce the burden of militancy, which claimed the lives of dear ones.
A softening of hearts was apparent when former militant Abdul Majeed said the youth must drop guns and follow the path of peace.
"We have come here because Gurudev (Sri Sri) is a big personality who does big work. We hope that he will get us a solution through talks," said Majid on the occasion.
Azaz Ahmed Mir of Ganderbal said they (victims) had come to the event with a lot of hope as they had lost a lot.
"Nobody listens to us. Something should be done for people like us. That's why we came here. We want to tell Gurudev this," echoed Naseer Lone of Bandipora.
A widow of a slain officer from Srinagar said the victims of the conflict in the border state had nothing against each other.
"Our anger is against the circumstances that are making us kill each other in Kashmir. We hope Gurudev will address this," said the widow who declined to be named.
Denouncing violence, Fayaz Ahmad Sheik of Baramullah said though his father was killed and burnt in 1999, he hoped none would face such a tragedy ever.
"We also feel the pain of the family whose men get killed while on duty in Kashmir. But we are also suffering at their (security personnel) hands. We must put an end to this," a Kashmiri lady from the family of a slain militant said.
Former militant Ghulam Hussain admitted that people from both sides were being killed and people like him were unable to go out in the day or sleep in the night.
"The reconciliation and conflict resolution efforts will continue to bridge religious, ideological and communal divides in the troubled Valley," said AoL Programme Director Sanjay Kumar, who coordinated the work AoL is doing in Kashmir since 2004.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)