August 2016 News

Opposition Parties To Apprise President On 'real Ground Situation'

17 August 2016
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: J&K's Opposition parties on Wednesday decided to approach President Pranab Mukherjee to apprise him about the 'real ground situation' in Kashmir while hitting out at the State Government and New Delhi for turning a 'blind eye' to the ongoing uprising. At a meeting here, which was called by former Chief Minister and National Conference's Working President Omar Abdullah, the opposition parties said the uprising wasn't the creation of Pakistan, and instead asked New Delhi to 'recognize the anger on the ground and address the root cause behind it.' They also demanded a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into allegations of excessive use of force by forces personnel and called for holding of a special session to discuss the Kashmir situation. 'We have decided to seek time from the President to apprise him about the real ground situation in Kashmir. We will also be meeting the central leadership to try and persuade them to take steps for improving the situation,' Omar told reporters after the four-hour meeting of the opposition parties at his Gupkar residence here. The curfew-bound Kashmir has witnessed 65 killings and injuries to around 6000 people in action by forces in the past 40 days of unrest following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8. Omar said the opposition parties were 'worried' about youths getting killed in firing by security forces. 'We are also worried about the mishandling of the situation by the State and the Centre,' said Omar, flanked by leaders of opposition parties including Congress and Left. Stating that the political nature of J&K has neither been accepted nor understood, Omar said the opposition parties would press for a dialogue with all stakeholders. He cautioned that blaming Pakistan for everything that goes wrong in Kashmir was not the right approach. 'The present situation (in Kashmir) is not the creation of Pakistan though there is no doubt that Pakistan has played a role in it by fishing in troubled waters,' he said. But, he insisted, the situation in Kashmir for the past 40 days was the 'outcome of the mistakes committed by leadership'. 'If we believe that Pakistan is behind all this, it means we do not have to do anything to set things right. We will have to correct our mistakes first and then talk about other things,' Omar said. The meeting was attended by several Congress leaders including State Party President G A Mir, CPI-M leader MY Tarigami, Independent MLAs Hakim Muhammad Yasin and Sheikh Abdul Rashid and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir. Stating that Kashmir was a political issue which needs to be addressed politically, Omar asked the State Government and New Delhi to admit and recognize the anger on the ground and then take steps to address its root cause. 'The anger is refusing to die down because there is no recognition and acceptance of this angerToday both State and the Centre are turning a blind eye to the situation in Kashmir,' he said. 'We are appealing to the Centre to recognize that there is a problem and there is anger on the ground... It is our inability that we are not able to recognize this anger and that is what is keeping it alive.' To a question that New Delhi was raising the Balochistan issue, Omar said efforts should be focused on setting 'our own house in order'. 'Your own house is on fire. Instead of trying to douse this fire you are talking about problems in others' houses. If Prime Minister wants to talk about Balochistan, do it, but we want him to talk about Kashmir as well which is burning for the past 40 days and has witnessed 70 killings,' he said. Omar asserted that the All-Party Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister happened because the Parliament was in session and it was the opposition's initiative that brought the issue twice for discussion. 'Otherwise, we would not have heard anything from the Government,' he said. 'As far as dialogue (with Pakistan) is concerned, we have been votaries of dialogue. We believe Pakistan as our neighbour is a country that needs to be talked to and it is something Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done in the past.' Stating that the opposition parties have demanded an inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge into the allegations of excessive force by forces, Omar said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in her speech on August 15, has herself said 'some elements in security forces did not follow her instructions of exercising maximum restraint.' 'This is an opportune time for a judicial inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe both the excessive use of force as well as those elements who hadn't obey Chief Minister's instructions,' he said. Referring to killing of four people in firing by the forces in Beerwah, his constituency, Omar said the areas which had been comparatively peaceful were being pushed into the protests. 'The fact is that at some places people are being made to react by making arrests and detaining youth under the PSA. That is the reason that the areas which had been peaceful have started to participate in the agitation,' said Omar, stating that despite assurance by New Delhi, the use of pellet guns continues unabated in Kashmir. Ruling out that the opposition parties would seek dismissal of the PDP-led Government in J&K, Omar said unlike the situation earlier when the PDP 'actively lobbied for dismissal of my government' in 2010, he won't do so. 'This is not the battle for chair and not pulling Mehbooba down so that one of us can get there. This is rather about safeguarding future generation of Kashmir and saving children from pelting stones and facing a volley of bullets and pellets,' he said. He however hit out at Mehbooba for 'playing worst form of politics for her inability to recognize her own failure'. 'For her everybody else is responsible but her. Central leadership from Jawaharlal Nehru till Modi is responsiblefor her everybody is responsible in the State for whatever is happening. I think time has come for Mehbooba Ji herself to recognize that somewhere she also has to share responsibility for the situation,' said Omar. To a question, Omar said: 'The simple problem with seeking her resignation is that in some quarters it will appear that I am desperate to get in the chair which is not the case.' He said when New Delhi was talking about Kashmir being an integral part of India, they were only talking about the land. 'We need to own Kashmiri people as well. Please own the people also and don't just own the land. It is mind-boggling to see that that for a less agitation in Gujarat, no lesser the Prime Minister addressed the State in Gujrati from Delhi because he owned the people of Gujarat. Why is it that we don't get owned and why is it that our anger doesn't get owned,' asked Omar. 'Why our sentiment doesn't get owned.?' RESOLUTION ADOPTED IN MEETING 'We express grave concern and grief over the prevailing situation and express our heartfelt condolences with the families of those who have lost their lives and also express our solidarity with thousands of those who have sustained serious injuries,' said the resolution. 'We express our deep disappointment and displeasure at the response of both the Central and the State Government which stems from their insensitivity towards the suffering and sentiments of the people of the State. A detailed discussion on the current situation is required and imperative. We are grateful to those leaders and parties that have expressed their solidarity and sympathy with the people of the State in the prevailing situation and also voiced their concerns and suggestions.' 'It has been seen that hitherto peaceful areas in the State are being dragged into the situation by nocturnal raids, arrests (including under PSA) and wanton harassment of the youth - which has further aggravated the extremely volatile situation. We demand such measures are stopped immediately,' said the resolution. 'The unchecked use of pellet guns has maimed, blinded and handicapped hundreds of young boys and girls. We demand the use of pellet guns be immediately discontinued without waiting for the so-called Committee of the Central Government to take cognizance of the humanitarian crisis in the Valley in this respect.'