Left Among 8 Parties For Troop-cut In JK1 February 2011
New Delhi: The eight political parties including the Left wing and prominent civil society Tuesday convened a public meeting for promoting dialogue and peace in Jammu and Kashmir here and demanded withdrawal of troops from the valley while CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said all accords entered with Kashmiri leaders since 1952 were unilaterally disregarded by successive regimes in New Delhi. The leaders of CPI(M), CPI, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Lok Jan Shakti Party, Forward Block and Telgu Desam Party met in a public meeting on “Peace and Justice in Kashmir” under the banner of Committee for Promoting Dialogue with Jammu and Kashmir. CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said, “By labeling Kashmiris as Pakistanis and their struggle as Pakistan sponsored, you are actually alienating them from the Indian mainstream and it is unilateral. They are protesting against what we have snatched from them. All the agreements entered with Kashmiri leaders since 1952 were unilaterally disregarded by the successive regimes in New Delhi. The State had acceded to India under special circumstances and its rights are vested in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which has been eroded by the centre thereby forcing the people of the State to challenge the Indian political system.” Demanding withdrawal of security forces from the civilian areas, CPI (M) General Secretary said, “It is very unfortunate that India is represented by security forces in Kashmir. The demand for revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and withdrawal of security forces from Kashmir was a genuine and legitimate demand as the heavy presence of armed forces was in itself a major irritant.” Asking the Government of India to act on the issue, Karat said that they had suggested that Disturbed Areas Act should be rolled back and AFSPA will automatically become null and void. “However, unfortunately, the government has not acted upon over suggestion,” he said and stressed for immediate resolution of the political problem. “ We stand for resolution of the problem through political autonomy and empowerment of people of the State and our struggle will continue despite vicious anti-Kashmiri campaign by BJP and its allies”. Speaking on the occasion Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan lashed out at UPA government for what he termed as ‘irrational & illegitimate’ response to the people’s aspirations in Jammu and Kashmir. “The problem of Jammu and Kashmir should be handled humanly and showering bullets on stone-pelting protesters was illogical. In which part of the world, stone-pelting boys are killed with bullets and murdered in cold-blood. Why is it that people in rest of the country are free to protest while Kashmiris are killed when they raise their voice against the State repression. Why is it that people in Kashmir are barred from participating in funeral procession of a boy who is killed by the security forces,” he said. “An entire generation in Kashmir is depressed. They have seen security forces murdering their nears and dears and it is time to reach out to them with human face,” he said. Lashing out at BJP for communalizing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir for political gains, Paswan said, “It tricolor hoisting drama was unwarranted and uncalled for. Rousing communal passions for political gains cannot be tolerated. The country faces threat from Saffron brigade and not from Pakistan or China.” He demanded a blanket ban on RSS and Bajrang Dal. “These are the terrorist outfits spreading terror by targeting minorities in the country”. Paswan stressed for unconditional dialogue with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir and demanded constitution of a permanent parliamentary committee on Kashmir to take forward the dialogue with the people of the state. CPI leader A B Bardhan said if the people of Kashmir had wanted to go to Pakistan then they would have done it long back. “They want to be a part of India but have been unfortunate in seeing it only in the face of Army,” he said criticising the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) enforced in the state. Demanding withdrawal of military forces from the state and revocation of AFSPA, the CPI leader said bullets and tanks were for enemies but it is now used for targetting 'our own people'. 'Kashmir has been called the heaven on earth. But now it has turned hellish and the responsibility squarely rests at the government's doorsteps,' he said He said there was a need to start an honest dialogue with all sections of Kashmiri society so that a mature and cooperative relationship can be established. Bardhan asked, “Why always Muslims are asked to prove or showcase their patriotism and not Hindus when they both belong to the same nation?” He said no one can question the patriotism of Kashmiris as it was the community which defended the country when Pakistan invaded the state. 'You put the Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah) in a cage (jail). Mistrust evolved. Then you sent the Army to every village. Due to this, there evolved a sentiment for freedom...You have the tongue to speak then why respond with bullets,' he said. The non-governmental initiative by the non–Congress and non-BJP parties is seen as a parallel move of the political parties, who were disappointed with the appointment of non-political interlocutors by Government of India on Kashmir after last year’s summer unrest. The leaders of political parties and civil society members formed committee for promoting dialogue with Jammu and Kashmir in December last year. The group after their first visit to Valley had suggested number of measures including revocation of Public Safety Act and Disturbed Areas Act for building confidence in the Valley.