G20 Should Keep Eye On J&K Situation: Cong; PDP

KO photo by Abid Bhat

Say Govt Wants To Project ‘All Is Well In Kashmir’

Srinagar- Opposition Congress and PDP on Monday said the government wanted to falsely project normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by holding a G20 event while there was an “emergency-like situation” in the Union Territory.

The BJP hit back and asserted that holding of a G20 event proves that Kashmir is now a “peaceful destination”.

“The G20 countries should also internally keep an eye on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The democracy has been wiped out here, there is an emergency-like situation created by the BJP,” Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Vikar Rasool Wani told reporters at a party function here.

He said the government has destroyed the roads in the city and now is putting up hoardings to impress the G20 delegates.

“They are showing the roads to the G20, roads have been destroyed, now only pictures are being put up the G20 should also know about the internal situation in J-K, the lack of democracy, the absence of an (elected) assembly, snatching of the statehood and the division of the state, Wani said.

Wani claimed that he was denied permission to hold public rallies in the Valley but the BJP’s like-minded parties are continuously allowed to do so.

“We had applied for permission to hold rallies at Baramulla, Budgam, Kupwara and Kishtwar but permission was not granted. Other parties like Apni party and DPAP are getting permissions continuously,” he said.

Wani said it was evident that the government has failed to improve the situation in J and K.

“(Union Home Minister) Amit shah claims to have ended terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. But there is no decrease in target killings. In one month, we have lost 10 soldiers in Rajouri. The BJP only only uses Kashmir for election campaigns,” he alleged.

PDP leader Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said while holding the G20 working group meeting in Kashmir may boost tourism in the valley, the government’s main aim was to falsely project normalcy in the Union Territory.

“Holding G20 event is good and it may help to boost tourism here. However, there is no change in the ground situation, particularly after the revocation of Article 370. I think by holding a G20 event here in Kashmir, they want to convey a message globally that all is well in Kashmir,” Hanjura told reporters here.

The PDP general secretary said the situation on the ground was not good as two incidents of militancy-related violence happened in Rajouri and Poonch.

“Firstly, I strongly condemn the incidents. It should not happen because the PDP believes guns are not the solution. Issues can be resolved through talks but unfortunately the BJP government cannot digest this. They are not ready for talks. Even, for instance, if war prevails for 100 years, ultimately the solution is through dialogue,” he added.

Hajura said the people in Kashmir were facing problems as authorities have tightened the security measures ahead of the G20 meeting.

On demands for another surgical strike on Pakistan, he said, “After first surgical strike, the situation is as it was. Gun is not the solution the PDP advocates dialogue only. India and Pakistan should come on table for talks along with stakeholders to find a solution.”

In response to a question on the involvement of locals in the pooch incident, Hanjura said, “That’s the duty of security agencies. If anyone is involved, he should be punished.”

He, however, questioned as to how the incident took place in such a huge presence of security forces.

“The BJP is answerable for that. They claim that they made the situation better here, stone pelting is not happening, militancy is over,” he said.

On the spat between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the SCO meeting, Hanjura said, “They (two countries) should bring down the bitterness and overcome the hatred. I think Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should not have said what he said and the response he got was also not valid.”

BJP leader Altaf Thakur reacted sharply to Congress leader Wani’s remarks, saying his party was habitual in raising fingers on the democratic set up of the country.

“The Congress is a failed party…they can’t see democracy of the country. Vikar Rasool should also understand that he is living in a democratic setup that has freedom of speech. It is because of this democracy he has got this right,” Thakur told PTI.

He said holding G20 event in Kashmir proves that the valley is a peaceful destination now where international events can be held.

“G20 event may be a showoff for Congress but for people of J-K and rest of country, this is a big achievement. Twenty countries are coming here which will give boost to economy and tourism of J-K. This will be remembered in history,” Thakur added.

National Conference spokesman Imran Nabi Dar said while holding international meetings anywhere in the country was the prerogative of the government, the delegates who are coming to Kashmir too have the responsibility to see the political scenario here.

“No election has been held in J-K since eight years now. Assembly elections, which are due, have been delayed since four years. If we want to convey the message to the delegates that democratic system is being upgraded, why is democracy weakened here (in Kashmir). The government has responsibility that they should understand issues cannot be solved by bureaucratic system for which elected government is required,” Dar said.

He also said Jammu should not have been ignored.

“If J-K is promoted through these events, why is one region completely ignored. That shouldn’t happen. We are repeatedly saying if they planned this meet here, it should be held in Jammu as well,” he added.

The third G20 tourism working group meeting will be held in Kashmir between May 22 and 24.

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