Omar urges talks, ban on pellet guns
New Delhi—After continuously ignoring the suffering of people in occupied Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally on Monday emphasised on the dialogue process to find a lasting solution to the issue but ‘within the Constitutional framework.’
During meeting with the delegation led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Modi expressed concern at the prevailing situation in the Valley and appealed for restoration of normalcy in the region which has been witnessing violence for the last 44 days.
“We need to find a permanent and lasting solution to the problem within the framework of the Constitution,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi’s comments mark a departure from his three earlier statements since the outbreak of unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last month.
Monday’s remarks by the Prime Minister, has signalled a change in New Delhi’s assessment of the situation in Kashmir. His appeal to opposition parties to convey to the people in Kashmir his distress over the loss of lives of “our youth”, security personnel and police could be the first step towards bridging trust deficit in the Valley.
Opposition delegates led by former Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah singled out security forces´ firing of shotguns to disperse the protesters.
Hospitals have reported hundreds of young men and boys suffering serious eye and other injuries from the pellets.
“We also implore you to announce an immediate ban on pellet guns,” said a memorandum handed to Modi. Use of the guns, along with harassment, raids and arrest of residents, “has worsened an already volatile situation in the state”.
The meeting comes a day after Modi´s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned that ongoing violence in the region would not be tolerated and described stone-throwers as among the aggressors.
He also demanded the Prime Minister to initiate dialogue with all stakeholders in the Kashmir valley immediately.
“A continued failure to address the unrest in Kashmir will further deepen the sense of alienation,” the delegation told PM Modi.
The delegation apprised the Prime Minister that the tried and tested formulations of dealing with the political issue in Kashmir administratively rather than politically has further exasperated the situation and “created an unprecedented sense of disaffection and disenchantment”, especially among the youth.
“We are of the firm opinion that the Central Government should waste no further time in initiating a credible and meaningful political dialogue with all stakeholders to address the unrest in the state,” the memorandum said.—Agencies