Stop targeted killings & migration in Kashmir: Congress to govt

''The government should secure all affected people and their offices...and this has to be done in the next 24 hours, as we do not want to hear that more innocents have died,'' he said.
Stop targeted killings & migration in Kashmir: Congress to govt
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NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday demanded immediate steps to end the migration of Kashmiri Pandits and outsiders from Kashmir and asked the government to engage with the stakeholders to restore normalcy in the troubled valley.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha said the government should spell out its policy for restoring normalcy in the union territory, rattled by a series of targeted terrorist killings.

Underlining the need for greater sensitivity towards the people of Kashmir, he said, normalcy and peace cannot be brought there through propaganda. A lot of statesmanship is required to address the Kashmir issue, which is currently lacking, he said.

''People are being killed in offices and even government offices are not secure. Please move them (Pandits and outsiders) immediately to secure places and put security around them,'' he told reporters.

Calling for immediate steps to halt the spate of killings, Tankha said affected people should be taken into confidence so they feel safe.

''The government should secure all affected people and their offices...and this has to be done in the next 24 hours, as we do not want to hear that more innocents have died,'' he said.

Noting that the unity of the country is most important, Tankha said enough security and protection should be provided to vulnerable people so they don't have to move out of Kashmir.

''Don't let migration happen from Kashmir as it is not good for Kashmir and is neither in the country's interest. Through this appeal I expect the central government to come out clearly and spell out the roadmap for restoring peace and normalcy in Kashmir,'' the Rajya Sabha MP said.

The Kashmir issue is complex and it is unfortunate that there is a lack of statesmanship in addressing it, Tankha said. ''Kashmir problem is bigger than any law. You have to look at Kashmir holistically, you can't look at in a microscopic way.

''I had stated during the debate in Parliament that Kashmir is larger than Article 370. Article 370 is a law which has been diluted, but Kashmir is a larger issue than 370 and to address it you need a lot of statesmanship, which was lacking,'' he noted.

He also demanded that the government provide compensation to those killed while performing their official duties.

''If you want peace, if you want amity, you have to address the stakeholders. You cannot achieve peace in Kashmir without talking to stakeholders, and history speaks out. I have not seen any such attempt in Kashmir....what I have seen is that you thought of resolving Kashmir through propaganda.

''If things could be resolved through propaganda, then Hitler would have won the world. Propaganda is good, but to a limited extent, only as a means of reaching out...it can’t be the basis of peace,'' the Congress leader said. Tankha said what is now happening in Kashmir is targeted killings not just of Kashmiri Pandits but also of outsiders working in the Kashmir valley.

Citing data, he said around 10,000 outsiders are working in the Kashmir valley and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure their safety. He said Kashmiri Pandits and outsiders were living in fear and wanted to move out of the valley.

The Congress spokesperson said the BJP government cannot blame the past happenings for the current situation in the union territory.

Kashmir has been on the boil for the last few days following targeted terrorist killings, including those of Pandits and outsiders.

Scores of Kashmiri Pandits, employed under prime minister's package in 2012, have been staging protests and threatening exodus since the May 12 killing of Rahul Bhat, a government employee, in Chadoora area of Budgam district. Several more targets have been bumped off by terrorists since.

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