Congress calls for dialogue with separatists to end unrest in Jammu and Kashmir

World Tuesday 30/August/2016 19:43 PM
By: Times News Service
Congress calls for dialogue with separatists to end unrest in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: Pitching for a dialogue with separatists to end the ongoing unrest in Indian-administered-Kashmir, Opposition Congress on Tuesday said it had asked both the central and the state governments to identify the relevant non-mainstream parties and stakeholders in the Valley for the talks.
"We have said both inside the House (Parliament) and in all-party meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and which we attended as an Opposition, that he should hold an all-party meeting," Congress general secretary and Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here.
"We had also said that the process of dialogue should be initiated as soon as possible if they want the things to improve on ground. And for that it is important we do not confine our dialogue only to mainstream political parties," he said.
Azad said the government must identify important and relevant non-mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir to have a dialogue with them to improve the situation in the Valley.
"It is the non-mainstream political parties, not only in our state but across the country, they do not have normally any representatives in the assemblies and Parliament. So we need to talk besides mainstream political parties, (to) other non-mainstream political parties and all other stakeholders," Azad said.
The Congress leader also said that the role of Pakistan in Kashmir had always been negative. "It is not the first time that the role of Pakistan has been negative. It is right since the Partition of India, it started from October 1947 even when I was not born and there has always been a role of Pakistan and that role has been negative," he said.
"I would like to say that whatever was done in the Parliament and whatever is being done after the session, these were only all the recommendations of the Opposition," Azad said.
He said that from discussions in the Parliament to an all-party meeting, everything was made possible by the initiatives of the Opposition.
"An all-party delegation visiting Kashmir, this was also accepted on the demand made by the opposition, all of us, in the Rajya Sabha. So far whatever has happened in the Parliament and outside the Parliament seems to be all demands made by the Opposition. I do not see a single initiative which is taken by the government," Azad said.
He said the situation would have improved in Kashmir much before had the Centre accepted the Opposition's demand to start some dialogue process.
"This happened around July 9 and on July 18, I sought adiscussion in the Rajya Sabha and chairman was kind enough to allow the full day discussion and it was at that point of time, I along with all opposition leaders, requested the government that some dialogue process should start and prime minister should chair an all-party meeting and all-party delegation should go to Kashmir," Azad said.
"Had the government of India acceded to our request on July 18, things would have improved much earlier. May be the curfew which has been lifted after 51 or 52 days, in that case the curfew would have been lifted on 15th or 16th day after the entire episode took place," he said.
The government of the day did not rise to the occasion, it did not wake up, he alleged.
Meanwhile, Azad said a permanent solution to the issue within the framework of the Constitution should be found by holding a dialogue. "I understand that this time the government, all political parties and the people and political parties of Kashmir whether mainstream or non-mainstream or other stakeholders, should hold a dialogue and find a permanent solution to it under the ambit of Indian Constitution," he said.
Azad said the BJP could find a better solution to the issue as the entire opposition, including his party, would support the government in such an endeavour.
"I think the BJP can find a much better solution because during the time of (former PMs) Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, whenever we gave a proposal to find out a solution, we faced the maximum opposition from the BJP. "They would tell us that we wanted to appease the minorities and the Kashmiris and they would level political allegations against us. Now, they are in power at the centre as well as in the state and they should find a solution and Congress and the opposition will always be with them in finding a solution," he said.