Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kashmir tense


Srinagar, Aug 6:
A day after three persons were killed and over 800 injured in police and CRPF firing in central and north Kashmir, tension prevailed across valley on Saturday.
Even as authorities imposed curfew in most areas to prevent people from protesting against the civilian killings, over 60 people were injured in clashes between angry youth and police and CRPF men across the valley.
Police and CRPF men had placed barricades on the roads and did not allow any public movement. In the areas, where there was no curfew, restrictions were enforced to prevent assembly of four than four persons.
Over 6000 people have been injured over the past one month by government forces across Kashmir with around 800 cases reported on Friday (August 5) alone, according to the medical staff posted at various hospitals.
While more than 2500 critically injured persons were treated at SKIMS Soura, SMHS Hospital and SKIMS Bemina, nearly 3500 injured were managed by doctors in different district and sub-district hospitals across the valley, officials told Rising Kashmir.


National Conference (NC) Working President Omar Abdullah Saturday questioned if Government of India had declared a war on Kashmir.
“Has New Delhi declared war on the people of Kashmir? Hundreds of young boys and girls have potentially life-changing injuries, most of them caused by pellet guns. Thousands of youngsters have sustained injuries in this unrest. To blame Pakistan for the unrest or to delude ourselves into thinking this is a law and order situation is criminal. There is an extreme sense of resentment and disenchantment among the youth of the Valley and that is the basis of this unrest,” he said.
The former chief minister said every appeal being made asking New Delhi to engage with Pakistan and the people of Kashmir through a sustained, comprehensive dialogue to resolve the political issue was falling on deaf ears.
“There is no sense of concern and empathy from GoI and national media too has shifted the traumatic situation in Kashmir back to the proverbial backburner in a perceived effort to distort the reality in the Valley and suit a particular narrative in New Delhi in the larger alleged ‘national interest,’” he said. “The sense of bereavement, injustice and hopelessness in Kashmir is widespread and deep and New Delhi’s continued arrogance in refusing to acknowledge this to presumably save its Government in J&K with PDP goes against not only all tenets of justice and humanity but also against the interests of the country and its people – against the very fabric of the country’s constitution.”
Omar said in the middle of this harrowing situation, Mehbooba Mufti was solely and primarily interested in her ridiculous self-marketing exercises by going to the extent of playing out video footage of board meetings and administrative meetings on Doordarshan to apparently pretend that she has a bone of empathy and humanity in her and that she is still around.
“Nothing could be more insensitive to the suffering and bereaved families at this juncture than to see Mehbooba Mufti on the evening news every day addressing meetings on far less pressing issues than the protection of the lives of our youth,” he said. “The enactment of fake ‘civil society’ meetings is not an alternative for public outreach and solidarity and the emphasis remains on optics rather than substance.”
The NC Working President expressed disappointment at GoI’s apathy toward the grave situation in Kashmir and said the New Delhi had misled the Supreme Court by saying the situation in the Valley was improving and under control.
Expressing grief and anguish at the continued spate of killings in Kashmir at the hands of police, troops and paramilitary forces, Omar, in a statement issued here extended his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the recovery of thousands who were battling serious, potentially maiming injuries in the hospitals.
“We express our heartfelt solidarity with the families of Muhammad Maqbool Wagay of Loolipora, Sameer Ahmed Wani of Khan Sahab and a 12th standard student, Danish Rasool Mir of Kreeri, Baramulla, all three of who lost their lives on Friday as well as those more than 50 youth who lost their lives in this unrest, including two policemen,” he said. “The pain of their families is incomprehensible and these tragedies are completely inconsolable.”
The former chief minister said just a day after GoI misinformed the Supreme Court about the situation in the Valley, three youth lost their lives and more than 400 were injured, a lot of them having sustained life-threatening and lethal injuries.
“If this is GoI’s definition of a situation improving or a situation that is allegedly under control, God help the people of Kashmir,” he said expressing complete disappointment at the lack of political measures taken by GoI after the Home Minister’s visit to the Valley.
“We had asked for an immediate ban on pellet guns and called for holding troops, paramilitary forces as well as the Police accountable for any excessive use of force,” Omar said. “The killing of Reyaz Ahmed from Chattabal, who was shot dead at point-blank range while riding his scooter, has demolished every possible argument that defends the use of lethal force in the Valley.”
He said both GoI as well as State government should acknowledge the gravity of the situation in the Valley and take long-term, political initiatives to address the alienation and resentment in the Valley rather than looking at this situation with an operative prism.
“Kashmir is a political issue and nothing short of a comprehensive, sustained political dialogue with all stakeholders in the Valley as well as Pakistan can serve as an acceptable alternative on the policy level,” the NC Working President said.
Meanwhile, an NC spokesman said despite nearly 300 youth being shot in their eyes with pellet guns – many of them permanently blinded, the State and the GoI seem to be encouraging the use of pellet guns through their inaction and silence rather than banning their use.
“It is evident their sole concern is political survival based on a quid-pro-quo arrangement where PDP has sold out to the BJP and BJP’s government in New Delhi has in turn quite apparently extended its unconditional protection and patronage to an inefficient, insensitive and inept State government in J&K where contradictory, bizarre statements have become the norm instead of the exception,” an NC spokesperson said.


Opposition Congress Saturday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “win the hearts” of the people of Kashmir, where the situation is turning “too dangerous”.
“I would request your kind indulgence for taking urgent steps to win the hearts of the people of the state and also ensure that the law and order situation is restored at the earliest,” Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said in an open letter to the Prime Minister.
Azad, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, regretted that there was no recognition of the Kashmir situation at national level.
Making a pitch for political process to find a solution to the problem, he reminded the Prime Minister that even in the face of worst provocations past governments had never abandoned it both on external and internal fronts.
“The initiative taken by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that Kashmir problem can be solved within the ambit of ‘insaniyat’, Jamhuriyat’ and Kashmiriyat” followed by Delhi-Lahore bus service, was appreciated by one and all,” he said.
Similarly, the UPA government under Manmohan Singh took some bold confidence building measures to win the hearts of the people of the state by starting a bus service between Uri and Muzafarabad, and Poonch and Rawalkote.
“But, unfortunately no such initiative is forthcoming from the present NDA Government under your leadership,” he said.
“Neither is the government showing any urgency to deal with the situation nor is it taking other national political parties into confidence as was demanded during the discussion in the Parliament,” Azad said.
Azad termed as unfortunate the government having “forgotten or ignored” lessons from 2008 and 2010 agitations when the then governments had appreciated the political nature of the problem and at least initiated a political process by sending an All-Party Parliament delegation.
He said in 2010 an-all party delegation visited Kashmir and met a cross-section of people. Subsequently, the interlocutors were appointed. They carried out wide ranging discussions as a result of which the anger and resentment subsided.
“Today there seems no such effort on the part of the Central Government. What is New Delhi waiting for? When is Government of India going to wake up? The use of pellet guns is not a solution at all,” he said.
Azad said there is a complete breakdown of law and order and “today even elected representatives are also facing the ire and are not able to connect with the people. They are running away from scene which tells us about the reality on the ground.”
He said the “silence” of the Centre has further compounded the problem and asked the government to change its attitude towards Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Prime Minister should open his heart to the people of the state,” he said and added that the present “mishandling” of the situation and “wrong policies” of the Centre has disturbed the socio-political and economic scenario of the state.
“The unrest has travelled to places not seen even in worst times,” he added.
Azad assured the government that as a responsible opposition, Congress will support any endeavour to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “But it is the central and state government which have to reach out to the people and create a sense of security in Kashmir”.
“As a responsible member of Parliament from J and K, I feel this as my duty to inform you that the situation in the state is turning too dangerous as a result of which, a large population is feeling insecure”, he said.
He reminded the Prime Minister that Kashmir has been locked down for one month now. Curfew is in for the last 29 days and communciation blockade is near complete. “So far more than 55 people have been killed and almost 7,000 civilians and security personnel injured”.
Noting that more than 100 civilians have lost their vision as a result of pellet guns, Azad told the Prime Minister that today there is complete breakdown of law and order in the valley.

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