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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

From Kashmir, Yashwant Sinha jabs government, praises people for maturity

Yashwant Sinha countered union home minister Amit Shah’s assessment crediting security forces for acting with restraint during protests that ensured that not a single person had died in police firing in the state after August 5.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2019 22:31 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Indian Civil Society head and former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha speaks on a phone during hsis visit to the valley to assess the situation on the 110th day of strike in Srinagar on Friday.
Indian Civil Society head and former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha speaks on a phone during hsis visit to the valley to assess the situation on the 110th day of strike in Srinagar on Friday. (PTI)
         

Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who is leading a five-member delegation to Jammu-Kashmir, on Friday credited the maturity of the people of Kashmir for the absence of casualties in the Valley after Parliament scrapped Article 370 and carved two union territories out of the state.

This was the first-high profile delegation of political leaders and activists has been allowed to stay in Kashmir after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked in August.

Sinha recalled that he had been turned back from the airport when he first tried to travel to the Valley in September and thanked the government for allowing him to visit the Kashmir valley this time. The delegation will be in the Valley till November 25.

Sinha countered union home minister Amit Shah’s assessment that credited security forces for acting with restraint during protests that ensured that not a single person had died in police firing in the state after August 5. Sinha said Kashmiris should be credited, not the government or security forces.

“The home minister has claimed that they have not fired a single bullet, the credit for that goes not to the government of India or to security forces. Credit for that goes to the maturity with which people of Kashmir have behaved,” Yashwant Sinha, who is leading a delegation that includes former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak and former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.

“If they follow the same Gandhian method and make their point, the government of India will have to bend and undo the damage,” he said, adding that the maturity with which people had conducted themselves had given him hope.

Sinha, who has been a sharp critic of the Centre in the past, also contested the government’s assertions that the situation in the state is normal.

“I can only say that the situation is far from normal. All the shops are closed. How can you say this is normalcy,” the former BJP leader said.

Sinha said the delegation will attempt to meet member of parliament and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who has been under detention.

Sinha said that he had spoken with Abdullah over the phone and the delegation intended to request permission to meet him. “He is in high spirits. We are now planning to seek a meeting with him. If they don’t allow us, we will wave at him outside his residence,” he said.

Abdullah was detained under Public Safety Act at his Gupkar home in September that was designated a sub-jail where he is lodged.

Sinha said he also spoke to CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami and would also try to speak with others such as former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

The group members also met the members of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Srinagar.