New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The Union government on Monday blamed Pakistan for the violence in the Kashmir valley since the July 8 killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani and refuted the charges of use of excessive force on protesting civilians.
A short duration discussion on the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the first day of the Monsoon Session, saw opposition parties blaming the government for “mishandling the situation”.
As the government was blamed for using too much force, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh insisted that, on the contrary, security forces had been asked to use maximum restraint and the least force.
Singh, as well as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, blamed Pakistan for the situation, and said Islamabad has never reconciled to Jammu and Kashmir being part of India.
The Home Minister, responding to a nearly four-hour-long discussion, said he particularly instructed the chiefs of security forces, including the CRPF and BSF, to “use as little force as possible”.
While asserting that the government had sensitivity towards the people, the Home Minister said: “If someone celebrates after security force personnel are killed, will that be called humanity?”
“We will be tough on militants and have sensitivity towards the people,” he said.
Singh clearly blamed Pakistan for the situation that has claimed several civilian lives and injured over a thousand.
“Whatever is happening is being done by Pakistan. It is called Pakistan but its actions are impure. They are interfering in our internal matters,” he said.
A similar pitch was made by Jaitley, who said: “Pakistan never reconciled to the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.”
As Leader of Opposition in the house Ghulam Nabi Azad lashed out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), calling the party as a “misfit” for Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley said Pakistan, and not the ruling PDP-BJP alliance, was to be blamed for the situation.
“After fighting conventional wars with India, Pakistan realised that it was impossible to defeat it through these, so it adopted the strategy of terrorism,” Jaitley said.
Azad, however, blamed the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Kashmir for the situation.
“It took us (the Congress government) and other governments, 70 years to try and bring peace to Kashmir. We had a healing touch policy towards people but this government makes no difference between treating common people and militants,” he said.
“Government should look at people as they look at their own children..but the situation in the hospitals which are full of injured people narrate it all.”
“Everyone says Kashmir is ours, no one says Kashmiris are ours. No one says we want Kashmir with Kashmiris,” he said.
Irrespective of party affiliations, Rajya Sabha members, however, stressed upon the need to find a solution to the situation, and expressed regret over the deaths of and injuries to civilians.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury also blamed the government for using excessive force.
“Our sympathy is with the youth who were killed. The number of deaths shows excessive force was used. There are many who have lost sight. Use of pellets is totally wrong. You are sending more companies, but they need doctors, heath care,” he said.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien also blamed the government for mishandling the situation.
“I think the most appropriate expression we want to use is the Union Government mishandled the situation,” he said.
Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav urged the government to find a political solution to the situation, while AIADMK member Vijila Satyanand said Kashmir was an integral part of India and government needs to instill confidence in the people.
The July 8 killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani triggered a wave of violence and clashes across the valley that has left over 40 dead.