SRINAGAR: The “Concerned Citizens Group”, a Delhi-based civil society group, on Monday said that the situation is far from normal in Jammu and Kashmir and urged for peace during the forthcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, while giving a call to central government on starting talks with all stakeholders in the valley region.
“There is no respite from violence in parts of Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation is far from normal in the State and we cannot continue to live in denial,” said a statement of Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) comprising people from different fields of life.
The signatories to the statement included senior BJP leader and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Justice (Retd) A P Shah, Salman Haidar, J F Ribeiro, Wajahat Habibullah, Vappala Balachandran, A S Dulat, Nirupama Rao, Aruna Roy, Syeda Hameed, Kapil Kak, Manish Tewari, Badri Raina, Zoya Hasan, Ramhchandra Guha, S Irfan Habib, Prem Shankar Jha, Shekhar Gupta, John Dayal, Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve.
The CCG noted that the loss of precious human lives, including that of the security forces, should be unacceptable to all peace loving people and should be ended at the soonest.
Kashmir is tense after killing of eight civilians in security forces firing during bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat last month.
The tension further escalated after security forces raided a college in Pulwama during which over 50 students were injured.
“The peace will not happen automatically or through use of force. Several military commanders have spoken in favour of a dialogue as a necessary step towards bringing peace to the troubled region,” the group noted.
The CCG members including Yashwant Sinha visited Kashmir couple of times after unrest last year and met mainstream and separatist politicians, traders and civil society members here.
Referring to the forthcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the CCG said, “We strongly urge all concerned, who are wielding gun or pelting stones, to desist from doing so during this holy month”.
“We appeal the central government and J&K government to take the lead and declare that the security forces will respond only in cases of extreme provocation and in self-defence. Let there be no violence in Kashmir during Ramadan,” it said.
The CCG also urged the central government to use the opportunity to begin the dialogue with all stake-holders as promised in the Agenda of Alliance framed by PDP and BJP for running coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The group noted that suffering of people along the LoC and IB has crossed all limits and become intolerable.
Pakistan troops breached border ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu province last week causing civilian casualties.
“The government must take all measures to stop this mayhem at the frontier,” the CCG said and urged Pakistan to strictly observe the ceasefire along border and desist from aligning itself with forces that advocate militancy and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
After its two visits to the Valley, CCG had released the report in which it had recommended talks with Hurriyat, release of first time offenders, improvement in human rights situation, allowing Kashmiris to assemble and meet to hold discussions and forming of a judicial commission into excesses by police, especially use of pellet gets.