New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) In a bipartisan discussion over a deadly unrest in Kashmir, most politicians from across the spectrum on Wednesday urged the government to work out a political solution to problems in and bring peace to the restive Kashmir Valley.
Rajya Sabha MPs asked the government to call an all-party meeting over the situation and then send a delegation of parliamentarians to the valley for talks with a cross section of the people.
Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who initiated the debate, urged the government to integrate hearts and minds of people with the “integral part of India” to solve problems there.
He expressed concern over the violence and continued lockdown of the valley where more than 55 people have been killed and thousands injured in over a month-long unrest following a rebel commander’s killing.
“We always say Kashmir is an integral part of India. But integral part should not be on paper only. There should be the integration of minds and hearts,” Azad said.
The Congress leader slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not speaking in parliament about the situation in the valley and choosing a Madhya Pradesh rally to appeal for peace in Kashmir.
“If something happens in Africa, you (Modi) tweet, Pakistan is an enemy nation and still you speak when something happens there. It is good to show sympathy with all. But the crown of India (Kashmir) is burning. You must have felt the heat on your head, if not the heart.”
He said Kashmir wasn’t a mere law and order problem but “a complex issue”.
“Politics comes first, economics second, employment after that. If we talk about electricity, roads and water, and not about politics, it will be wrong.”
Azad called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. He also asked for a delegation to be sent to Kashmir.
His party colleague and former Jammu and Kashmir governor Karan Singh said the government and the house should “introspect why thousands of youths have embarked on a path of destruction” in the valley.
MPs from other parties joined the chorus and wondered why the government was not taking a political initiative.
“We have to end the violence and the current bloodshed in Kashmir. Start a political process to bring an end to the problems of people of Kashmir,” CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, urging an immediate end to using pellet guns to quell street protests there.
Swapan Dasgupta, a nominated member allied to the BJP, said he agreed with the view that a political approach was required. “But the approach must be considered and designed very carefully.”
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav said a political initiative was necessary to win the trust of the people of the state.
“(The) Prime Minister might say anything but it does not make any difference. The condition in Jammu and Kashmir is very bad. Modi says that we all love Kashmir, but this I would say is one-sided. We have to chalk out such political measures that the people of Jammu and Kashmir also start loving us.”
Nazir Ahmad Laway, a Kashmir lawmaker from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), questioned why the nation remembered Kashmir only “when it is burning”.
“The longer we take to resolve this issue, the harder it will be. Kashmiri people are not for guns, they are for this country,” Laway said. “They don’t trust us. They say delegations come and go, but nothing is ever done for us.”
Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh said he was shocked over the deaths, including those of children. “Children have no religion. If a child is killed, it should awake the country’s collection conscience.”
The opposition as well as ruling lawmakers were also united in condemning Pakistan over stoking trouble in the valley.
Nationalist Congress Party leader D.P. Tripathi said the house and the nation were “united against those causing problems in Kashmir from across the border”.