Congress slams government’s ‘contradictory’ stance on Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The Congress on Monday slammed the government for its “contradictory policy” on Jammu and Kashmir, contending that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were “not on the same page” on the sensitive issue.

The Congress said that “such irresponsible approach of the government” was a threat to national security and pride of the nation.

The Congress also questioned the Prime Minister’s talk about dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue, asking “with whom does he want to have a dialogue”. It suggested a “coherent approach” towards the issue of Jammu and Kashmir that has seen over 65 deaths in clashes with security forces since July 9.

“The Finance Minister should explain the contradiction between what he is saying and what the Prime Minister is saying. The essence of the Finance Minister’s statement was that there is no political problem in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a developmental problem. Development is the anti-dote to the 45 days of curfew which has been prevailing in the Valley,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.

“The Prime Minister, on the other hand, for two years has been using three words Insaniyat, Jamooriyat, Kashmiriyat, which we do not think that he himself understands the essence of these concepts. This is mere empty rhetoric of the Prime Minister,” said Tewari.

“Today, he talks about dialogue. So, if the Prime Minister is talking about a dialogue, but the dialogue is going to be with whom? So, in essence the PM and the Finance Minister are not on the same page,” added Tewari.

Jaitley on Sunday had said that “as the state had faced violence and wars, it needed development which was denied for past 60 years by National Conference and Congress governments”.

“Looking at the situation in the state, such irresponsible approach of the government is a threat to national security and pride of the nation,” said Tewari.

“Obviously when you talk of a dialogue. You talk to people who are estranged. You do not talk to people in such a situation who are with you and a part of the mainstream. What would be the policy has to be decided by the government,” said Tewari.

Asked if the Congress would give some suggestions to the government on the issue, Tewari said: “It has been our consistent submission to the government that please try and put together a coherent approach. In the approach, if there is some constructive suggestion or help they require from the opposition, it would be forthcoming.”

He said the government should delineate a policy and if there are any inputs needed to be given, the party would be willing to share their experience.

The reaction from the Congress came after Modi on Monday morning met with a delegation of opposition parties from Jammu and Kashmir led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Modi, during the meet, “acknowledged that only development can’t resolve the problem in Jammu and Kashmir”.

The delegation met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday and President Pranab Mukherjee a day earlier to discuss ways to contain the prevailing unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday posted a video on his Twitter and Facebook pages urging the youth in the Kashmir Valley to give up protests and violence and pick up books.

The valley has been crippled by a curfew which was imposed since July 9 following the the killing of top militant, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with the security forces and a call by separatists for a shutdown in protest.



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