Kashmir unrest: J&K leaders urge President to intervene

NEW DELHI,MANAN KUMAR : A delegation of Opposition parties from Jammu and Kashmir met President Mukherjee on Saturday seeking his immediate intervention to impress upon the Central government to find a political solution to Kashmir crisis instead of tackling it administratively in a ham-handed manner and worsening the situation.

“The root cause of the current agitation lies in politics and solution must be found politically and not through use of force. It will be counter productive,” said former chief minister Omar Abdullah of National Conference after meeting the President.

Warning that the current unrest is now “showing signs of spreading beyond the valley to Pir Panjal, Chinab Valley and Kargil region of Ladakh”, Omar said, “The failure of the central government to acknowledge that the issue in Kashmir is largely of a political nature has worsened the already volatile situation. All attempts to crush the agitation by heaping more misery, by imposing further restrictions has driven more people put on the streets.”

Omar blamed Pakistan for adding fuel to the fire to the unrest that unfolded after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s encounter death on July 8.

Pointing out at BJP-PDP coalition government’s failure to tackle the Kashmir crisis, Abdullah said, “It is very sad that instead of political leadership it is the Army chief of Northern Command that has voiced his concern and spoken about the need of a dialogue with different stakeholders.”

The delegation pointed out at non-implementation of recommendations of the Working Groups and blamed the government for not tabling the interlocutor’s report in the Parliament that was constituted to solve the longstanding Kashmir crisis.

CPM leader Tarigami said, “The government should not shy away from political outreach and must meet the separatist leadership.”

Omar warned that a “continued delay to engage with the people of the state through a comprehensive and sustained political initiative will further deepen the sense of alienation in the Valley and cast a shadow of uncertainty on its future generation”.

He said the delegation also requested the President to use his “influence” on the state as well as the Centre “to stop the use of lethal force against civilians in the Valley”.

Refuting Kashmiri leader Sajjad Lone’s claim that only 5% of Kashmiri population is part of the unrest, Omar said, “I challenge him to try visiting his home in constituency Handwara let alone carry out a meeting….The unrest has spread to all the rural areas…It is a matter of grave concern.”

The delegation consisting of 22 senior leaders from Congress, CPM, Peoples’ Democratic Front (PDF) and Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) met President Mukherjee for nearly one hour.

Besides Abdullah, the delegation also included JK Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir, CPM leader M. Y. Tarigami, PDF leader Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, PDP (Nationalist) Ghulam Hassan Mir and several senior leaders from National Conference and Congress.

Sense of alienation will deepen: Omar
Omar warned that a “continued delay to engage with the people of the state through a comprehensive and sustained political initiative will further deepen the sense of alienation in the Valley and cast a shadow of uncertainty on its future generation”. The delegation will be meeting mainstream Opposition parties in New Delhi during next to couple of days to convey them about “grave situation” prevailing in J&K to build up more pressure on the central government.