Kashmir situation: Congress wants political solution

Kashmir situation: Congress wants political solution

Cobrapost |
July 19, 2016

Kashmir situation: Congress wants political solution

The Congress on Monday slammed the Centre over the situation in Kashmir and pressed for holding an all-party meet to discuss the issue. The opposition party pitched for a political solution rather than using “barrel of the gun” while dealing with the unrest in Kashmir.

During a short-duration discussion on the Kashmir situation, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while his party stands with the Modi government and the coalition in the state in dealing firmly with militancy, the “excessive use” of force against common citizens, including the children and women, is not acceptable.

For the current unrest, he blamed a number of reasons including BJP’s participation in government with PDP in the state, provocative statements made by some leaders of BJP and RSS besides Pakistan, “whose existence is the root cause of all problems.”

He underlined that Kashmir cannot be ruled “through the barrel of the gun or bullets” and demanded that responsibility be fixed for “excessive use” of force.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Rajya Sabha on Monday that Pakistan is responsible for the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. “Everything that’s happening in the valley is sponsored by Pakistan.The name is Pak (land of the pure) but its actions are ‘napaak’,” he said.

Leader of House Arun Jaitley admitted that the situation in Kashmir was a “matter of concern” but rejected the contention that the violence in the valley was a result of the BJP getting into power in the state.

Asserting that efforts are underway to restore normalcy at the earliest, he said the entire country should speak in one voice at this time and common man should not be made to suffer there.

Asking the youth to stay away from the agitation which is being held against the killing of a militant, he said, “When thousands of people attack the police, then understandably, there will be action. The fight is between the country and the separatists and common people are standing with the country which is in national interest.”

It is the responsibility of the police on the ground to determine the kind of force that needs to be used to quell mob violence, Jaitley said while blaming Pakistan for promoting violence in the state.

In his speech, Azad said the government has not learnt from the earlier situation. Reminding that militants were always killed in the state, he said it was a matter of concern that the “present environment” did not exist even during the 1990s and added that youngsters have been killed in all the 10 districts of the Kashmir valley this time.

The Congress leader alleged that bullets and pellets guns were fired mercilessly and spoke of several “horrifying” pictures being circulated through the social media including that of a senior police officer pressing the neck of a young boy with his boots.

He said many children, as young as 4-5 years old, were left injured, with some losing their eye-sight while watching the violence from the windows of their house or terrace.

Asserting that no one including his party supported militancy, Azad said the Congress stood by the government against any action against militancy.

“But distinction should be made between militants and civilians. The same bullet used to kill militants should not be used to kill children, women and youngsters. Should we treat them as militants? We are with you when it comes to eradication of militants. But we will not be a part of this (heavy use of force against civilians),” he said.

He said the government earlier, while dealing with militants with a heavy hand, also had the policy of “healing touch”. He claimed that the commom people in Kashmir do not have any trust in the BJP.

Talking about his government when he was the J&K chief minister, Azad said that while his government dealt with militants sternly, it behaved “like parents to youngsters” and did what was required under a democratic set-up.

He said it was a sign of patriotism on part of Muslims in the country, that despite the highest number of practicing Muslims here, ISIS has not been able to make any headway here except in less than a dozen cases. Both Hindus and Muslims should be proud of this, Azad said.

He said the situation was simmering for last one and half years. “This is a lava. The lava does not erupt in a day.”

Observing that provocative statements were being made by some BJP-RSS leaders, he said “the Kashmiris see that action is not being taken. The treatment meted out to Kashmiri students in the name of security also plays in role, back in the valley.”

While Islamic preacher Zakir Naik should be probed, those who announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for his head should also be sent to jail, Azad said.

Azad said the Congress wanted the violence to abate as he appreciated that Muslims in Kashmir did not target the Amarnath Yatra, which helped in this.

He said when a vehicle carrying Amarnath pilgrims met with an accident, the Kashmiri youth came forward and donated blood. He also cited last week’s incident when Muslims in a Kashmir locality broke curfew to carry the body of a Hindu man who had died.

Reiterating that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through bullets, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said it was high time for the government to “take a strong decision” and convene an all- party meeting “this evening, tomorrow or day after” to discuss the issue.

“We are not in favour of politicising the issue. We are with government even in a situation of war against Pakistan. We are not here for vote politics. Have courage, take a decision, reform your bad policies and win peoples’ confidence. Make it your integral part,” Agarwal said.

Alleging that “the paradise on earth is reeling under curfew” due to political reasons, Agarwal said the situation was such that Pakistan Prime Minister had also issued statements. “Every day, Pakistan raises Kashmir issue in the UN”, he said and added that “it is time to take a strong decision.”

“Bring a resolution for peace in Kashmir. Send a parliamentary delegation there, headed by the Home Minister. Listen to the people there, win their confidence,” the SP leader said, adding that BJP and PDP had opposing views on several issues and there was a need to tackle the situation urgently.

Vijila Sathyanath (AIADMK) sought a special package for violence-hit Kashmir besides special opportunities for the youth there. “Government must take immediate steps to restore peace and tranquility there,” she said.

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