‘Accept Kashmir a political issue, initiate talks with Hurriyat’

‘Accept Kashmir a political issue, initiate talks with Hurriyat’

NC submits memorandum to home minister Rajnath Singh

SRINAGAR: A high-level party delegation of National Conference led by its working president Omar Abdullah on Sunday called on the Indian home minister Rajnath Singh here and submitted a memorandum seeking a judicial probe into the circumstances leading to civilian killings in the Valley. The delegation also called for immediate restoration of mobile telecommunications and internet services besides a “human approach” vis-à-vis relaxations in the continued curfew.
The delegation, as per a statement issued here, expressed anguish, disappointment, grief, and sorrow over the loss of lives in the current unrest in Kashmir. It also highlighted the “glaring political failures” of the central and the state governments while calling for immediate political engagement with Pakistan and a cross section of internal stakeholders within Kashmir “to pave way for a political solution to a political problem” that has claimed thousands of lives.
“The memorandum also registered party’s condemnation over the chaotic and repressive assault on local media houses and demanded a judicial probe should be undertaken to fix responsibility over the matter in light of the chief minister’s act of disowning her orders,” the statement said.
The party also expressed disappointment at “how the central government’s failure to recognise the problem in Kashmir as a political problem was dangerous” and could have serious long-term implications for the State in particular and peace and stability in the entire sub-continent in general.
“No amount of economic packages could undermine the political nature of the problem in Kashmir and New Delhi should initiate immediate talks with all stakeholders to ensure such situations are not repeated in the future,” Omar, as per memorandum, asserted during the meeting.
On “excessive” use of force against protestors, NC said the state government’s failure in dealing with the situation is “palpable and shocking”. “It would be a travesty to simplify the current unrest in the Valley as a pure law and order issue,” the memorandum said.
Criticising “Centre’s dangerous approach” towards Kashmir, the party said New Delhi’s lack of a political outreach was dangerous and could have adverse long term implications. It also highlighted “serious flaws and contradictions” in statements and actions of the government’s ministers and spokespersons since last couple of weeks.
“The chief minister’s belated realisation to convene an All Party Meeting came after dozens of youth had lost their lives, hundreds were maimed and blinded, and thousands having sustained grievous injuries. For all these crucial days, the state government, the chief minister and her cabinet colleagues remained unmoved and invisible with the exception of a few of the CM’s aides who flung into action only to order raids on newspapers offices and implement a media-gag which the CM then went on to disown”, the memorandum stated.
It said the crackdown on mobile telecommunications has resulted in “untold miseries and suffering” in the Valley and has fueled the sentiment of alienation and isolation in Kashmir. “In another bid to curb criticism of its policies and many failures, the state government went on to impose an unprecedented crackdown on the fourth estate as local newspapers were ordered to go out of circulation and printing presses raided. The government spokesperson Naeem Akhtar went on record to re-affirm and justify the media gag,” it said.
The NC memorandum made seven demands to achieve the “over-arching goal of peace, dignity and justice” in Kashmir: a) The Union Government should initiate a sustained dialogue process with Pakistan as well as internal stakeholders including the leadership of the Hurriyat Conference and other groups in the Valley with an aim to evolve a consensus towards a mutually acceptable solution to the political issue. b) A judicial probe should be ordered into government’s mishandling of the situation in the aftermath of killing of Burhan Wani. c) A judicial probe to ascertain if excessive force was used against protesters in the Valley. d) Purportedly “non lethal” weapons that have caused grievous, life-threatening and fatal injuries in the current unrest should be immediately banned and a legal inquiry be undertaken to fix responsibility where the use of such weapons have resulted in hundreds of young men being maimed and blinded. e) The central government should immediately order the complete restoration of mobile telecommunications in the Valley and the resumption of mobile internet services. f) A judicial probe be ordered to fix responsibility for the crackdown on newspaper offices and printing presses with legal action be initiated in this matter besides the state government should extend an unconditional, unequivocal apology to the local media for this “unwarranted repression”. G) The central government should extend all possible medical and financial assistance in the treatment of those civilians who have sustained grievous injuries in the current unrest and those who require specialised treatment not available in the State should be flown to New Delhi with all possible assistance extended to their families for their treatment.

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