NEW DELHI: Justifying his ‘open letter’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Kashmir issue, Congress leader and the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has said taking into account the “indifference” shown by the Central Government, especially by the Prime Minister, towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir, it is hard to believe that there is a government at the Centre.
“Kashmir is burning for the past 29 days and curfew has still been clamped in several districts; no elected representative — MP, MLA, MLC or any other leader — can go anywhere; schools and offices are closed; there is only 20-25 percent attendance in settled trade; communication has been out of order; there is no law and order; 55-60 people have been killed, 7,000-8,000 civilians and security forces are injured; use of pellet guns have made hundreds of people blind; in such a situation, we don’t have a statement from the Central Government, especially from the Prime Minister. All these force a person to think whether there is a government at the Centre,” Azad told ANI on Saturday.
Stating that the Prime Minister had an opportunity to express his solidarity and sympathy with the people of Kashmir, Azad said, “We had raised the Kashmir issue in the Rajya Sabha, and thereafter, there was a whole-day discussion in the Lok Sabha as well, but the Prime Minister did not speak even a word in either Houses and neither expressed his solidarity with the people of Kashmir. It has created widespread disappointment across the nation, and especially in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“He tweets when there is any incident in America, Africa, China or Japan, but here the crown of India is burning for the past 29 days, but the Prime Minister has said not a single word,” he added.
“There was a very good opportunity before the Prime Minister to come to Parliament and express his sympathy and made an appeal to the people of the Valley to maintain peace. If the Prime Minister cannot appeal for the peace, then what will he do,” Azad sought to know.
“Atalji was also there; he used to express his sympathy to the Kashmiri people. Besides, Congress leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh always give priority to the Kashmiri people and Kashmir and apply balm on their wounds. But today, it seems that the Central Government and the Prime Minister have nothing to do with Kashmir. That is why today I am forced to write a letter to the Prime Minister,” said Azad explaining the reason behind writing the letter.
“I used to write letters to the Prime Minister otherwise too on several issues, but I wrote an open letter to him so that the world must know that the Prime Minister was sleeping, not the opposition,” he added.
Commenting on the Centre’s Kashmir policy, he said, “There is no policy on Kashmir. They called Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, threw a party for him, and also attended his birthday party, a marriage function, and had cake. What did he get from it is known to the world.”
Asserting that for the first time after Independence, the BJP is having a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said, “They have their deputy chief minister and ministers. Thus, they have dual responsibility as they are in the state as well as at the Centre, but despite this dual responsibility, they don’t have sympathy and accountability towards the people of Kashmir and the security forces.”