Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday expressed “deep anguish” at the loss of innocent lives in the “senseless violence” in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, where at least 22 people have died in protests after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death, but said there can be no compromise with national security.
At least 22 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces in Kashmir in three days after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed by security forces in an encounter on Friday, officials said on Monday.
More than 250 people have been injured in the violence and the situation continues to be tense across the valley.
“There can be no compromise on matters relating to national security. Terrorism must be dealt with firmly and forcefully,” Gandhi said in a statement.
“Even so, the death of so many of our brethren is very painful. The political process has made many gains in J-K over the last two decades particularly and these must not get lost,” she said.
The Congress president also appealed to “my brothers and sisters in the valley” to allow political parties to find “durable and enduring ways” of fulfilling their aspirations in a peaceful and democratic manner.
Her statement comes a day after Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu lashed out at Wani’s sympathisers, saying the government will not tolerate terrorism and violence.
The Union minister said the crisis in Kashmir was “not a sudden development” and “you can’t have an overnight or readymade solution to such a long standing issue” adding that the Centre will adopt democratic methods to solve the situation.
Hoping that normalcy will be brought back at the earliest, Naidu said the focus should be more on development.
The leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also condoled “the untimely death” of people and expressed deep concern over the “deteriorating law and order” situation in the valley, where “irreparable collateral damage” has taken place.
“The need of the hour is to ensure that law and order is restored at the earliest without any further loss of lives,” Azad, who on Saturday said it was unfortunate that people in Kashmir mourn when a terrorist dies, said.
The Congress general secretary also wished a speedy recovery to more than 200 civilians and security personnel wounded in the spate of violence.
Violence erupted in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam and later spread to other districts in the valley after security forces killed Wani and two associates in Anantnag on Friday.
Wani was buried in his native Shariefabad (Tral) village on Saturday where thousands defied curfew restrictions to attend his funeral prayers.