Urging the Prime Minister to break his silence on the deteriorating situation in Kashmir, Opposition in Rajya Sabha led by Congress today demanded initiation of a political process to defuse the crisis that has led to an unprecedented 30 days of curfew across the Valley.
The Opposition parties also demanded stopping the use of pellet guns on protesters, even as one member demanded withdrawal of AFPSA from the Kashmir Valley and withdrawal of the dominating presence of army from civilian areas.
Raising the issue in Zero Hour after his notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to discuss the issue was disallowed, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said no state in independent India has seen 30 days of continuous curfew that has paralysed the administration, shut down educational institutions and led to near zero attendance in government offices.
“In such circumstances, we want to awaken the government … We feel the government and the Prime Minister are watching the situation deteriorate like a silent spectator,” he said, adding he wanted to know why Modi hasn’t spoken on the grave situation in Kashmir so far.
“Hindustan ka Taj jal raha hai, par uski garmi Delhi tak nahi pahuchti (India’s crown is burning but the heat hasn’t yet reached Delhi),” Azad said.
Over 8,000 people, including security personnel, have been injured while 410 eye surgeries and 1,650 other surgeries are reported to have been done because of the use of pellet guns on protesters, he said.
Observing that 1018 incidents have been reported, he said over 1000 youth are in prison. “Please do not consider this as a law and order issue,” Azad told the government.
Citing social media comments on Modi not making any statement on the Kashmir unrest, he said people are eager to listen to his views on the situation.
He asked the Prime Minister to call an all-party meeting where political leaders can offer solutions and express their sympathy with the people of Kashmir. This should be followed up with an all-party delegation visiting Kashmir to assuage the feeling, the senior Congress leader added.
Expressing anguish and pain at the continuous 30-day curfew, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said there was nothing working in the Valley except armed forces.
“More than 1000 incidents of firing have happened. More than 8000 are injured and 60 dead,” he said describing the use of pellet guns and “inhuman” and “criminal”.
Stating that even Israel does not use pellet guns against Palestinians, he said the situation cannot be solved by law and order machinery.
Opposition National Conference on Monday staged a march against what it said excessive use of force on protesters in Kashmir.
Wearing black bands, the sitting legislators of the party and other senior leaders began a march from the party headquarters in Srinagar.
They were stopped by police from marching ahead near the tourist reception centre.
Amid slogans, like ‘Jis Kashmir ko khoon se seench who Kashmir hamara hai’, the protesters marched ahead with placards with messages: ‘Stop use of unbridled force’, ‘stop innocent killings’, ‘stop mass arrests’ and ‘Start Dialogue’.