New Delhi: Castigating Prime Minister Narendra Damodar Modi for not attending debate on Kashmir in parliament, former Chief Minister and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday urged union government to integrate hearts and minds of people of than repeating "integral part of India" mantra to solve problems there.
Azad initiated a debate in the Rajya Sabha over Kashmir that came after over a month of unrest which has left more than 60 people dead and thousands injured.
"The Prime Minister reaches the parliament (complex) everyday at 10 a.m. He stays in his (parliament) office till 6 p.m. His room is barely a minute and a half from the Rajya Sabha," Azad said.
He also lashed out at Modi for speaking on Kashmir at a rally in Madhya Pradesh and not in parliament, a day after the Prime Minister appealed for peace in the restive valley.
Azad expressed concern over the violence in Kashmir but stressed the government should endeavour to win hearts and minds of the valley people and stop using force, including pellet guns, against protesters.
"We always say Kashmir is an integral part of India. But integral part should not be on paper only. There should be integration of minds and hearts," Azad said.
"Kashmir has had curfew for over 30 days. Many have been killed. Thousands are injured," Azad said.
"If something happens in Africa, you (Modi) tweet, Pakistan is an enemy nation, still you speak when something happens there. It is good to show sympathy with all. But the crown of India (Kashmir) is burning. You must have felt the heat on your head, if not the heart."
"Kashmir is a complex issue. Politics comes first, economics second, employment after that. It is too late to talk about electricity, roads and water now. We can not ignore the political aspect of Kashmir any more,” veteran Congress leader said.
He asked the government not to see Kashmir as a mere law and order problem and called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. Emphasising on the need for dialogue with all stake holders, he also asked for a delegation to be sent to Kashmir to find a political solution to problems of the people there.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.