Safeguard communal harmony, religious tolerance at all costs: Oppn to Kashmiris

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Pardeep Singh Bali

Opposition parties which met here today requested the people in Kashmir to safeguard the communal harmony and religious tolerance at all costs even under prevailing circumstances.

The opposition parties also passed a resolution demanding probe into the civilian killings in the ongoing unrest by a retired Supreme Court judge, stopping use of pellet guns on protesters, special assembly session on the prevailing unrest in Kashmir.

The meeting that lasted for several hours till afternoon passed a resolution which said that the central government led by BJP should start political dialogue with Pakistan over resolution of Kashmir issue.

“Kashmir is a political issue and it will be resolved through a political dialogue,” the resolution said.

The opposition parties stressed that Jammu and Kashmir has always been a beacon of communal harmony and religious tolerance even in the most difficult circumstances. “We appeal to the people of the State and all stakeholders to continue safeguarding and upholding this legacy at all costs,” recommended opposition.

Called by National Conference’s working President Omar Abdullah and held at the residence of the party patron and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, the meeting was held to discuss the prevailing situation and unabated civilian killings by forces and ask New Delhi and State Government to come up with a “political plan” to address the ongoing unrest.

JKPCC president G A Mir, CPI (M) State Secretary, M. Y Tarigami, PDF chairman Hakim Mohammad Yasin and AIP Chief Er Rashid, former minister and chairman DNP Ghulam Hassan Mir and other opposition legislators attended the meeting.

They also discussed the failure of the state and central governments to restore normalcy in the state.

The participants discussed that a delegation of the opposition parties will meet President of India Pranab Mukherjee over the ongoing situation in the valley.

“We will try to persuade the (Union) government to take steps that will at least help in improving the situation in the Valley,” National Conference working president, Omar Abdullah said.

They also sought a special session of the Assembly to discuss the situation.

“It would have been in the fitness of things had the State Government called a Special Session of the State Legislature to discuss the prevailing situation in the State. Now that the State Government has failed in fulfilling this responsibility at this crucial juncture, we demand the Government calls a Special Session of the State Legislature without any further delay to discuss the current situation, its reasons and implications,” said resolution.

The opposition further recommended judicial probe in killing. “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,” opposition stated.

The former chief minister said all the opposition parties were worried about youths getting killed and injured in security forces’ firing, while the state and the central governments “mishandled” the situation.

“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. 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,” he said.

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