Oppn asks govt to take responsibility for valley deaths

Jammu: Opposition today blamed the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir for the unrest in the Valley last summer and asked it to own up its role in the civilian casualties, which was rejected by the ruling side which held "vested interests" responsible for it.

"The situation of Kashmir is very bad and the government has failed on all fronts," claimed National Conference member B A Veeri while participating in a debate in the Legislative Council on the situation in the Valley.

He blamed the BJP-PDP government for the deaths in Kashmir and said, "The government should own up the responsibility of what happened in Kashmir." 

Congress MLC G N Monga also said, "This government should own up the responsibility of deaths in Kashmir during the five-month-long unrest." 

He added, "We demand constitution of a commission to probe the deaths and atrocities penetrated on the people of Kashmir." 

Opposition members in unison demanded that the state government also take responsibility of the injuries suffered by thousands besides the arrests of large number of people.

Quashing opposition demands, Leader of the House and Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said the PDP-BJP alliance cannot be blamed for any situation in the Valley.

He said inimical forces tried to instigate people against the government after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.

"Despite repeated clarifications on part of the government, inimical forces tried every trick to instigate people against the government," he said.

"It was, however, the encounter on July 8 in which Burhan Wani was killed that provided such elements an opportunity to provoke the people to take the law into their own hands, which resulted in casualties and injuries to large number of people," Akhtar said.

He said, "The alliance formation cannot be blamed for any situation because it is not merely the alliance formation itself that leads to conflict or resolution of issues. The alliance was formed following a genuine democratic process." 

As one of the House members said people were apprehending the situation to turn bad after the month of Ramadhan, Akhtar said there were a number of issues that were being used to target the government, including the issues of Pandit and Sainik colonies, industrial policy.

"The state has been a victim of politics that has resulted from various accords and power-sharing arrangements.

The tragic events that took place in Kashmir during the past few months is another unfortunate chapter in the state's history," Akhtar said, in an apparent reference to NC-Congress alliance of 1987 and preceding agreements signed by late Sheikh Abdullah with the central government.

"What happened in the Valley during the last few months is a collective loss for all of us. The situation has left people across the state grieved and saddened," he said.

Expressing grief over the loss of lives and injuries, he said the youth killed during the unrest were "all our children".

Describing the events of 2016 as tragic, he said it is not something that has been created by the government or the opposition but is the latest chapter in the "vicious cycle" of violence and death and destruction in the Valley.

"In some way or the other we all are responsible and cannot shy away from owning the responsibility for the macabre incidents," Akhtar said and hoped that it will be the "last chapter" of its kind.

He said the government has always been in favour of talks to resolve the issues confronting the state and its people.

"We have to sit together to find a solution to the enormous challenges facing the state. The Agenda of Alliance is a road map to the solution to such issues and the people of the state should send a message of peace, reconciliation and stop the blame game," the minister said.

PTI