As unrest continues in Kashmir, the central government outlined its priorities on Sunday, asserting that there will be no compromise with those indulging in violence.
Acknowledging that the situation in Kashmir was “serious”, Union minister Arun Jaitley said those indulging in stone-pelting in Kashmir are “not satyagrahis but aggressors” who target police and security forces but some people with limited vision cannot see this.
Jaitley also said the country’s unity was being challenged and Pakistan was again at war with India “using new methods” to incite violence in the Kashmir Valley.
“A new serious situation has arisen. Pakistan and various other forces are involved in it, and the country’s unity has been challenged once again,” Jaitley said, adding people of Jammu and Kashmir should jointly fight the aggression.
For more than a month, the Kashmir Valley has been rocked by protests that broke out after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with security forces on July 8.
Sixty-seven people have died and more than a thousand injured in clashes between civilians and security forces while many parts of the Valley continue to be under a curfew.
Addressing the BJP’s Tiranga Yatra in Jammu, Jaitley said Pakistan was once again at war with India “using new methods” of spreading unrest and inciting violence among masses in the Valley. “It’s a challenge for us. We will not compromise with it,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has three priorities for Jammu and Kashmir, said Jaitley.
“There will be no compromise on the security and integrity of the country and no compromise with the people who indulge in violence.
“Secondly, as Jammu and Kashmir has faced violence and wars, it needs development which was denied for past 60 years by National Conference and Congress governments. Thirdly, Jammu, being the support base of BJP, needs added attention.”
His outlining of the priorities assumes signficance as the opposition has been accusing the Modi government of having no policy with regard to dealing with the unrest. The opposition parties have been pressing for a political solution and dialogue to address the unrest.
The government accuses Pakistan of fuelling unrest and has decided to aggressively counter the neighbouring country. It recently turned down an invite for talks on Kashmir, saying New Delhi wanted to discuss cross-border terrorism, which was central to the turmoil in the Valley.
The invite for talks came after Modi, indicating a shift in India’s foreign policy, talked about rights violations in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province and Pakistan occupied Kashmir in his Independence Day speech.
In the Valley, normal life continued to be paralysed for the 44th day on Sunday. A curfew was on in Srinagar district and two south Kashmir towns of Anantnag and Pampore while movement was restricted in other parts of the Valley.
A separatist-sponsored strike, too, has kept shops, private offices and petrol pumps shut. Mobile internet remained suspended though mobile services were partially restored on Saturday.