Month-long curfew in Kashmir to be discussed in Rajya Sabha today

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 10, 2016 07:01 IST
Paramilitary forces have patrolled the streets of Srinagar for a month now, enforcing curfew in the strife-torn Kashmir valley where protesters have clashed with security agencies over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani. (Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

Giving in to the Opposition’s demand, the government has agreed to a debate on the situation in Kashmir in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday sought the support of all sections to resolve the “complicated” issue.

Opposition members voiced their concern over the Valley being curfew-bound for over a month and demanded a stop to the use of pellet guns, which have left hundreds injured and fanned public anger. They also wanted a parliamentary delegation to be sent to Kashmir to talk to all sections of people, and an all-party meeting to be held.

As the matter came up during zero hour, Singh agreed with leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad that the discussion would be the first agenda of the House the next day — it has been scheduled for 11am. Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said there was no problem if both sides were in agreement.

Pointing out that “curfew has entered the 31st day in Kashmir”, Azad said, “We don’t want to accuse the government. Rather, we are ready to help control the situation. Innocent women and children are dying. Your security forces are dying. Why are you shying away from debate?”

Singh admitted the situation was indeed “serious”.

“Why are you not sending an all-party delegation to Kashmir,” asked Sitaram Yechury of the CPM. “Send it on August 12 itself and for heaven’s sake, make an announcement to stop the use of pellet guns.”

The JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav seconded the ban on pellet guns while asking the government what its strategy for Kashmir was.

Also demanding a delegation to Kashmir, Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP said, “People can question us as to what we did.”

The Trinamool Congress’ Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said the government’s “mismanagement” had worsened the situation in the state — where 58 people have died and thousands have been injured in a month of violence following the killing of top militant Burhan Wani.

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