Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's statement blaming the state police for the protesters' and civilian killings between 2008-10 has stirred a hornet's nest in Kashmir with separatists calling it half-truth and the government taking exception to it.
"It is a bundle of lies. The CRPF was equally responsible for killings. The Congress leader conveniently ignored the fact that the army was involved in killing, arson, and forced disappearances of youth in valley. They have committed heinous crimes," said Hurriyat Ghulam Nabi Sumji, a senior leader of hardline Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
On Saturday, Aiyar, during his speech in a college in north Kashmir, said, "In Kashmir, the police are killing its own people. And if a killing by the army takes place, a court martial is subsequently held in the matter while as civilian cases regarding the killings by police are gathering dust in government offices."
He blamed the police for the civilian killings between 2008-10, when more than 200 people were killed during street protests. He also went ahead saying that people in Kashmir still believe that the police and the army rules them.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman welcomed Aiyar's "realisation" that people feel that they are ruled by security agencies. "Aiyar should convey his feelings to people in power at the Centre. It also speaks about his double standards. On one hand, he has concern for Kashmiris and their feelings but advocates AFSPA in the same breath," said the Mirwaiz.
Aiyar's, former union Panchayati Raj minister, statement has the state government piqued too. "The police are part and parcel of the state and its people. It is his (Aiyar's) personal opinion and makes no difference," said state home minister Sajad Kitchloo.
"Police did a commendable job in handling the post-hanging situation and expressed maximum restraint while handling protests and stone pelting. It is the police that took the wrath on itself, otherwise the situation could have taken heavy toll on life and property," said Kitchloo.
He also made it clear that the state government will pursue its agenda to revoke the AFSPA. "The process to revoke the act should be started forthwith. It has remained in force for far too long and it is high time that the process begins," he said.