Srinagar: National Conference on Monday took out a rally protesting the government’s handling of the situation in the Kashmir Valley and demanding that the use of pellet guns by security forces as a crowd control measure be stopped immediately.
“They are using bullets and pellets, inflicting atrocities on the people, resorting to mass arrests and crackdowns. It is the second month of curfew, crackdowns and bandhs which have caused a lot of problems for the people. We demand that the government stop all this,” NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, who led the march from the party’s headquarter at Nawa-i-Subh to Civil Secretariat, told reporters.
However, the protesters, including party leaders and legislators, were stopped by police near the Zero Bridge, following which they staged a sit-in.
Sagar said it was “shameful” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not even make a mention of the unrest in Kashmir in his radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”.
“Those asserting Kashmir as their integral part fall silent when it comes to pain and misery of the people here,” he said.
“When we met the (Union) Home Minister, he assured us that the (use of) pellet guns and excessive force will be stopped immediately, but nothing has been done in this regard yet.
“Around 450 people were injured on Friday due to pellet gun firing. Yesterday also, around 100 people were injured and 1500 arrested. We are protesting against this,” the NC leader said.Injustice in Kashmir has crossed all limits: NC
Additional General Secretary Dr. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, National Conference senior leaders, former parliament members, legislators, former legislators, district presidents and members of the party’s youth and women’s wing – hundreds of party workers and activists started their protest march from Party Headquarters Nawa-e-Subha Complex in Srinagar.
Condemning the act of disallowing the party leaders, legislators and activists from carrying out the protest march, Sagar lashed out at the State Government for unleashing a wave of “tyrannical repression” in the Valley where even democratic forces were being targeted and prevented from raising their voices.
“There is no alternative to dialogue with Pakistan and stakeholders in Kashmir. Kashmir is an unresolved political issue and has to be dealt with politically. New Delhi’s failure to acknowledge the problem in Kashmir as a political problem will have far reaching, adverse implications on the region in general and the State in particular”, the NC General Secretary said while addressing media men during the protest march.
The NC General Secretary lashed out at the State Government and the Chief Minister for ordering an unprecedented and unimaginable wave of repression and terror on the people and said barbarism in the Valley had crossed all possible limits as more than fifty young men had lost their lives while more than five thousand civilians were injured since the current unrest began on the ninth of July.
Demanding an immediate cessation of use of any form of force on protesters, Sagar said irresponsible and highly insensitive statements of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had further worsened the situation by emboldening the brutality of the response by the police and paramilitary forces on unarmed protesters.
It is in place to mention here that when National Conference along with Congress ruled the state under the Chief Minister Umar Abdullah, 120 civilians were killed by police and Indian security agencies after a series of violent protests in Kashmir valley. The NC led government had justified killings using the same rhetoric employed by the current government led by Mehbooba Mufti.
In 2010, it was present chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who led the protests against the government demanding removal of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The government then, in a damage-limitation exercise, constituted a CoI under Justice (Retd) Syed Bashir-ud-Din to probe the first 17 killings starting from Tufail Mattoo’s death. Later JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik filed a PIL in the state High Court seeking an FIR and investigation in all the killings that took place in 2010. Both the CoI and PIL are yet to reach any conclusion.