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Oppn parties in Kashmir to approach Prez, want probe

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Srinagar: With Kashmir on the boil, the state’s opposition parties today decided to approach President Pranab Mukherjee to apprise him of the “real” situation even as they demanded a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into alleged use of excessive force by security personnel.
The meeting of leaders of National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) besides some Independents also wanted a special session of the Assembly to discuss the situation and decided to send a delegation of opposition parties to Delhi to press for a dialogue with all stakeholders.

Omar Abdullah and others during opposition parties  meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Omar Abdullah and others during opposition parties
meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday.

They insisted that blaming Pakistan for everything that goes wrong in Kashmir was not the right approach.
“We have decided to seek time from the President to apprise him about the real ground situation in Kashmir,” National Conference working president Omar Abdullah told reporters here after the meeting at his residence.
The meeting was also attended by Congress leaders including JKPCC chief G A Mir, CPI(M) MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Independent MLAs Hakim Mohammad Yasin and Sheikh Abdul Rashid and former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir.
“We will try to persuade the (Union) government to take steps that will at least help in improving the situation in the Valley,” Omar said while referring to the unrest which has been going on for the last 40 days and resulted in the killing of 63 people. The former Chief Minister said the opposition parties have demanded an inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge into the allegations of excessive force by security forces while dealing with protestors.
“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.
He said all the opposition parties were worried over the youth getting killed and injured in security forces’ firing, while the state and the central governments “mishandled” the situation.
“We are also worried that the political nature of Jammu and Kashmir has neither been accepted nor understood. When it has not been accepted, it is implied that no efforts have been made to find a solution to it,” he said.
Omar said Kashmir is a political issue which needs to be addressed politically.
“The first step is to admit and recognise the anger and then take steps to address it. So far that has not happened,” he said.
“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,” the National Conference leader said.
Asked about the Centre raising the Balochistan issue, Omar said his personal view was that efforts should be focused on setting “our own house in order”.
“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.”
As far as dialogue with Pakistan is concerned, “we have been votaries of dialogue for resolution. Jammu and Kashmir was made an issue between India and Pakistan way back in 1970s with the Simla Agreement.
“We believe Pakistan as our neighbour is a country that needs to be talked to… and it is something Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done in the past,” Omar said.
In this context, he mentioned Modi’s unscheduled visit to Lahore to attend marraige of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s kin as well as Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s recent trip to Islamabad for SAARC conference.

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