Concerned over the massive increase in the killings and violations of human rights, most of the members who participated in the obituary reference on Saturday said there was no way out on Kashmir other than talks. However, they all differed on how to do it and actually resorting to mud-slinging on each other.
Chief Minister’s speech
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who concluded the references, insisted that talks are the only way out on Kashmir. She, however, said there are political forces within J&K that have scuttled the efforts.
Terming the ongoing crisis as an outcome of the “denial of democracy”, Ms Mufti said it was the election of 1987 that actually created the ongoing situation. “Syed Salahuddin and Yasin Malik are there and I think i need not to take more names,” Ms Mufti said, “There are many people who are not here.”
Most of the members in the house, she said, I should convince the Prime Minister for talks. “Where they able to convince the Prime Minister in Congress era,” she asked. “Whatever happened has happened in Vajpayee era.” She said Modi visited Pakistan and then Pathankote happened but Dr Manmohan Singh could not even visit his village in Pakistan.
Ms Mufti said there has been resistance to talks in Kashmir too. “When Inder Gujral said in Qazigund that he wants to talk, Dr Farooq Abdullah drove to the assembly to say that if Delhi entered into talks with separatists he will be the first to go against India,” Ms Mufti said.
In 1996, when I suggested talks, Ms Mufti said, Chief Minister reacted saying they (separatists) should be thrown into Jhelum. Reacting to NC leader’s insistence that there is state terrorism in vogue, Ms Mufti said “he should remember the days when for an encounter, entire village will flee so that they are not taken as guides”.
Later when Vajpyee announced a ceasefire in Ramzan, Chief Minister said in assembly: “I have told my DG to go and get them (militants)”.
Ms Mufti said there have been serious efforts at denying talks to Kashmir. “Last time when Sharad Yadav and others came, I even wrote a letter to them (Hurriyat) suggested them to talks and open a window but they rejected it,” Ms Mufti said, “What can we do?”
Ms Mufti was responding to a huge debate on the situation on ground. The House that was supposed to talk on obituary references actually departed and talked mostly on the situation especially killings.
Initiating the debate, NC veteran Mohammad Shafi Urvi said the situation that is emerging because of state terrorism in Kashmir is a dangerous one. He said he was unaware what the Home Minister was talking about when he says Kashmir will get a permanent solution. He said the doors on the institution of talks have been closed and there are efforts of making clear distinction between the process of talks in North East and J&K.
“Kashmir is on fire,” Shafi said, “If you add to it, it will devour all of us.” He suggested the government to make the situation favourable for talks: respect the people and the month of fasting.
Attacking the ruling PDP right left and centre, Ghulam Mohammad Saroori lamented that “there is nothing in the hands of the Chief Minister”. He said that the entire powers being exercised in J&K are that of a General who is heading Northern Command.
“Aaap Ki Neati and Neeyat Mein Tazad Hai,” Saroori shouted, “Aap ki souch aur Kaam maein farak Hai.” He said the PDP led government was incompetent.
Yousuf Tarigami made a brief speech but to the point. “There are speeches made to make news but not to express genuine concern,” he said. “WE in Kashmir have been fragmented and we talk in different voice and there is a need to have a common agenda on basics across political divide.”
Tarigami said CRPF and soldiers are not the solution. He suggested and all party group to be led by the Chief Minister to meet Prime Minister so that we are able to convey the concern and seek response to the question: what is India up to in Kashmir. “If we fail to do that this Kashmir fire will engulf entire sub continent.”
Hakim Yasin recalled the days when Ms Mufti, in a similar situation, chose to walk out in an obituary reference session. “But we are not doing that,” he said, insisting that 16 killings in a day is too much for any government.
The last but one to speak, Engineer Rasheed said he will like to speak on behalf of the army and the police, the two forces who have no voice in the house. “Let me tell you, they are also keen that they out of this death and destruction,” Rashid said.
Taking a dig at NC, Engineer said they should avoid invoking Israel into Kashmir context. “Israel is not resorting to so much of suppression as you do,” Rasheed said. “Their Generals do not dub the entire population as OGWs.”
Engineer said he would personally not like to “beg” for talks. “A situation is coming when you will beg for talks but there will be nobody to talk to you,” Engineer said. “Your autonomy will not be acceptable as plebiscite is the demand.” He said the police is making militants and in case of Zubair Turay, he has personally met the Chief Minister and given her detailed account of what happened.
Engineer said that while India is setting afire to our huts, there is a possibility that the palaces will not remain safe anymore.
The independent lawmaker moved a resolution that the House must condemn the action of Major Leetul Gogoi and also condemn conferring of award to him. The resolution was not listed by the speaker.