NEW DELHI: As the situation remained tense in Kashmir for the 47th consecutive day on Wednesday, the Congress said the Centre should talk to all stakeholders including non-mainstream parties as well as the youth.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also stressed on the need to send an all-party delegation to the Valley. “Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) has gone there and I am hopeful that he will not only talk to political parties but also non-mainstream parties, other stakeholders, students, trade unions, people from different religions. And now there should be peace,” said the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
He suggested that an all-party delegation which represents the entire country should have gone and that would have helped both the State and Central governments. Lamenting that the Valley has suffered in the past two months, Azad said, “Already so much blood has been shed in the Valley. Many have got injured. Pellet guns have been used a lot due to which the elderly, girls and boys have all got injured. Therefore, to control this situation instead of using guns, the government should have opted for talks (much earlier)”, he said.
Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was not firm on cracking down on protesters because the hub of their activities was in South Kashmir, considered a PDP stronghold, and maintained the Centre had conveyed to her its views regarding the same. “Mehbooba has no choice but to go after them. The government has identified over 80 overground workers responsible for organising violent protests and playing a lead role in uniting stone pelters,” he said.
Asked if the Centre was open to engage with the separatists, the leader said the government would not reach out to them, but its doors were open to anyone who is willing to talk to it.