Modi flags terrorism, Balochistan atrocities at Kashmir meet (Roundup)

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Atrocities committed by Pakistani security forces in Balochistan and the Kashmir it holds need to be exposed to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday at a meeting to discuss ways to defuse a deadly unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Modi told the all-party meeting that the roots of tension in the Kashmir Valley lay in cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan.

“Terrorism is the basis of tension in Kashmir and it is being supported by a neighbour,” Modi said, according to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the media.

Friday’s meeting followed the death of 56 people and injuries to thousands in clashes between security forces and protesters in the Kashmir Valley after the July 8 killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani.

“Pakistan forgets that it is bombing its own people. The time has come for Pakistan to tell the world why it has been committing atrocities on people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan,” the Prime Minister said in the meeting that lasted for about four hours.

The valley has been in a lockdown amid continuous curfew and separatist-called shutdown for the past five weeks amid daily pro-freedom rallies despite strict restrictions. The normal life has been on a standstill with educational institutes, shops, businesses, banks and offices closed in the weeks of unrest.

The Home Minister said all the participants at the meeting felt that normalcy had to be restored in the valley. But Modi stressed that “there cannot be any compromise on national security”.

“We have to win the confidence of the people in Jammu and Kashmir. The central and state governments are committed to address all the genuine grievances of the people and restore peace there. But we will not lower the guard against terrorism and anti-India activities,” Modi said.

Informed sources, however, told IANS that there was no consensus in the meeting on how to resolve the tension in the valley. Most opposition parties urged the government to start a dialogue with all stakeholders, including separatist leaders, in Jammu and Kashmir.

But the government appeared to have shot down the proposal to talk to separatists.

“All parties were of the same approach and there will no compromise on terrorism or separatism,” Jaitley said. “As far as the dialogue is concerned, it is already on with mainstream parties, traders and civil society (in Jammu and Kashmir).”

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who also attended the meet, assured the government “full cooperation” on “any positive step in the endeavour of solving the Kashmir issue”.

Azad, who headed the state government at the start of a similar Kashmir unrest in 2008, said there was a need to find where the problems in the valley started.

“If there is a mistake we must correct it,” Azad told reporters, adding his party “will be satisfied when peace is restored” in the valley.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said he urged the government to talk to all stakeholders in Kashmir. “We have done it in the past. We have to do it again.”

CPI’s D. Raja also stressed on the need to have “talks with all stakeholder”.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha adopted a resolution appealing for peace in Kashmir and expressing “serious concern over the prolonged turbulence, violence and curfew”.



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