Former defence minister A K Antony on Tuesday said the Kashmir situation is “volcanic” now and would “explode” and go out of hand if urgent steps were not initiated to find a solution.
“Kashmir is a volcano now. There is mistrust, fear and anger among the minds of people, especially among youths. The Centre should intervene immediately; otherwise there would be an explosion. Things in Kashmir would become uncontrollable,” the Congress leader said while releasing a book by a group of journalists from Kerala who visited Kashmir two years ago.
Antony said urgent steps should be initiated for holding dialogue with all stakeholders in the state to find a political solution in the Valley and efforts should be made to win the hearts and trust of the people in Kashmir.
“It is a difficult task, but we have to do that,” he said.
“We should regain the trust of youth. That could be achieved only through talks,” he said, adding “if conventional paths are not suitable, other ways should be adopted and a human approach should be made.”
“Terrorists in the Valley and people of Kashmir should not be treated alike,” he added.
The Valley remains under curfew for the past 45 days, and the use of pellet guns has taken over 60 lives since the clashes between security forces and the Kashmiris broke out following the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Antony noted that this was for the first time in free India that curfew continued for such a long period in Kashmir.
“Few such attempts were made when UPA was in power. But, it could not move forward,” he said.
The government failed to realise the seriousness of the issue in the initial stages. But they have now understood the seriousness of the situation. No one should make statements that vitiate the atmosphere in Kashmir.
Talking over the role of Pakistan in the violence, Antony said: “Pakistan government and military have failed to come to terms with the reality that Jammu and Kashmir is part of India... Pakistan has a major role for the present problems.”
Terrorists infiltrate into Kashmir with the help of Pakistan military, he charged. “In some cases terrorists trained by Pakistan military also come to India.”
However, the former defence minister said not every time can the neighbour be blamed for the problems in the Valley.
“I know there are problems. Pakistani military is creating more and more problems. They will continue to do so, nobody can stop that. But, always blaming the Pakistani military and not taking proper action is not good.”
Asserting that a political solution was the only way to solve the problems, the Congress leader said the Centre should send an all-party delegation to Kashmir immediately.
“Kashmir needs a political solution. As a first step, the government must send an all-party delegation, and then start a political dialogue to find a political solution. We can’t delay it anymore. The government must start acting on war footing. At any cost we must win hearts of the people, especially the youth, of the Kashmir Valley,” Antony told reporters.