Opposition parties in Kashmir met in Srinagar on Wednesday and decided to seek President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention to resolve the situation in the Valley. It’s been nearly 40 days since the protests began in the Valley. The death toll too has climbed to 63.
“We have decided to seek time from the President to apprise him about the real ground situation in Kashmir….We will try to persuade the (Union) government to take steps that will at least help in improving the situation in the Valley,” National Conference leader and former J&K CM, Omar Abdullah told reporters after the meeting at his residence.
Abdullah said that the Opposition members also demand a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into allegations of excessive use of force by security personnel.
“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her speech on August 15 has herself said that some elements in security forces did not follow her instructions (of exercising maximum restraint)….So this is an opportune time for a judicial inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge,” he said.
A delegation of opposition parties will go to Delhi to press for a dialogue with all stakeholders, Abdullah added.
He also criticised the Centre’s reasoning of the unrest.
Blaming Pakistan for everything that goes wrong in Kashmir is not the right approach, said Abdullah.
The meeting was attended by several Congress leaders including JKPCC chief G A Mir, CPI(M) MLA from Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Independent MLAs Hakim Mohammad Yasin and Sheikh Abdul Rashid and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir.
The Opposition delegation also plans to seek a special session of the Assembly to discuss the situation.
“We are also worried that the political nature of Jammu and Kashmir has neither been accepted nor understood…The first step is to admit and recognise the anger and then take steps to address it….So far that has not happened. The All-Party Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister (on August 12) happened because Parliament was in session and it was the opposition’s initiative that brought the issue twice for discussion…Otherwise, we would not have heard anything from the government,” Abdullah said while lashing out at the Centre.
Abdullah also reacted to PM Modi mentioning the Balochistan issue in his Red Fort speech from Independence Day.
“You (Centre) want to rake up Balochistan, by all means do it but there is a fire burning in Kashmir. It also should be addressed,” he said.
On Pakistan’s role, Omar said, “While Pakistan has a habit of fishing in troubled waters, I do not think the present situation is because of it.
“If we believe that Pakistan is behind all this, it means that we do not have to do anything to set things right,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)