‘Kashmir Can’t Be Ruled at Gunpoint’

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New Delhi: The Congress Party on Monday lashed out at the Centre for treating civilians like militants and asked the ruling dispensation not to rule the Kashmir Valley at gunpoint.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament got off to a stormy start over unrest in Kashmir with Congress accusing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of failing to win the trust of the people. 

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, who initiated the debate, said that he was deeply hurt with the present state of affairs in Kashmir.

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 the common citizens, including children and women, is not acceptable.

“We haven’t learnt our lesson in Kashmir. We are with the government in ending militancy, but we can’t support this treatment of civilians. Can civilians be treated like militants? The Kashmiris don’t trust the government of India, the Centre can’t rule Kashmir at gunpoint,” Azad told the Rajya Sabha.

Should same bullets that are used on militants be used on the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir? Should the militants and common man be treated alike,” he added.

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. He also demanded all-party meeting on the issue.

Opposition also pressed for holding an all-party meet to discuss the issue and pitched for a political solution rather than using “barrel of the gun” while dealing with the unrest.

Leader of House Arun Jaitley admitted that the situation in Kashmir was “serious and a matter of concern” but rejected the contention that the violence in the valley was a result of the BJP getting into power at 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 was triggered by the killing of a militant commander, 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 standing with the country is in national interest.”

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