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Opposition led by Congress urges PM Modi to break silence over Kashmir issue

News Agencies | Updated on: 8 August 2016, 16:26 IST

The Opposition in Rajya Sabha led by the Congress party urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the deteriorating situation in Kashmir. They demanded the initiation of a political process to defuse the crisis that has led to an unprecedented 30-day curfew across the Valley.

The Opposition parties also demanded stopping the use of pellet guns on protesters, even as one member demanded withdrawal of AFPSA from Kashmir Valley and withdrawal of the dominating presence of the army in civilian areas.

Raising the issue in Zero Hour after his notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business to discuss the issue was disallowed, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said no state in independent India has seen 30 days of continuous curfew that has paralysed the administration, shut down educational institutions and led to near zero attendance in government offices.

"In such circumstances, we want to awaken the government ... We feel the government and the Prime Minister are watching the situation deteriorate like a silent spectator," he said, adding he wanted to know why PM Modi has not spoken on the grave situation in Kashmir so far.

"Hindustan ka Taj jal raha hai, par uski garmi Delhi tak nahi pahuchti (India's crown is burning but the heat hasn't yet reached Delhi)," Azad said.

Over 8,000 people, including security personnel, have been injured while 410 eye surgeries and 1,650 other surgeries are reported to have conducted due to the use of pellet guns on protesters, he said.

Observing that 1,018 incidents have been reported, he said over 1000 youth are in prison. Citing social media comments on PM Modi not making any statement on the Kashmir unrest, he said people are eager to listen to his views on the situation.

He asked the PM to call an all-party meeting where political leaders can offer solutions and express their sympathy with the people of Kashmir. This should be followed up with an all-party delegation visiting Kashmir, the senior Congress leader added.

Expressing anguish and pain at the continuous 30-day curfew, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said there was nothing working in the Valley except armed forces.

"More than 1,000 incidents of firing have happened. More than 8,000 are injured and 60 dead," he said describing the use of pellet guns as "inhuman" and "criminal".

Stating that even Israel does not use pellet guns against Palestinians, he said the situation cannot be solved by the law and order machinery.


First published: 8 August 2016, 16:26 IST