After Ruckus, LC Passes Resolution On Indo-Pak Dialogue

28 August 2014
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: After noisy scenes, the Legislative Council Thursday passed a resolution urging the J&K government to impress upon New Delhi to resume the process of dialogue with Pakistan to ensure peace and stability in the State and the Sub-Continent. The resolution also directed the state government to urge the Centre to 'take effective steps' to prevent the LOC firing which has resulted in loss of life and property. The resolution also asked the State to take immediate measures for relief and rehabilitation of the victims of cross-LOC firing. The resolution was passed after chaotic scenes and tiff between the NC legislator Devender Singh Rana, and Congress legislator Ghulam Nabi Monga who had moved an amendment to the resolution brought by the Chairman of the Council, Amrit Malhotra. It is believed that the resolution is first of its kind passed in the Upper House unanimously. Many legislators asserted that the resolution was historic in nature given that it was brought by the LC Chairman himself. NC legislators demanded that those who have brought the amendment to the resolution should withdraw it and support the resolution either through vote or openly. What triggered an exchange of argument is when Congress legislator-while speaking on his amendment-stated that the two countries must resume the talks at 'an appropriate time after a congenial atmosphere is created.' His statement evoked sharp criticism from NC legislators, especially Rana, who stood up from his chair and sought explanation for the word 'appropriate'. 'When would the appropriate time come? Chairman Sir, the member must explain that should we wait till more people are killed on the LOC? What is the appropriate time for talks? He should withdraw his amendment and support the unanimous resolution,' Rana said. He was, however, countered by Monga. 'I am not accountable to you. There has to be an appropriate time and atmosphere has to be conducive, only then dialogue can resume,' he said. He was, however, countered by other NC legislators like Ghulam Qadir Pardesi and Dr Bashir Ahmed Veeri. Joining the chorus, National Panthers Party (NPP) legislator Muhammad Rafiq Shah staged a walkout on the issue stating that 'to cancel the talks with Pakistan is a national policy and constitution of the State doesn't allow any member to challenge it.' 'We can't challenge the national policy. I stage walk out,' Shah said. Speaking on the resolution, NC legislator Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy said J&K has become a football for both India and Pakistan. 'For supporting this resolution, we are being labeled as anti-national people. NC is the lone party which witnessed the killing of 8000 workers in the past 25 years. Those killed were not carrying a Pakistani flag. They were killed for holding the Indian flag,' Suharwardy said. He said if NC would stay away from the political arena of the State, 'India will vanish from JK.' He said the new dispensation at the Centre is 'now targeting a particular community in the name of 'Love Jihad.' 'This is unfortunate. NC patriarch Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah chose secular India over Muslim Pakistan by negating the Two-Nation theory. It seems that the BJP government wants to prove the Two-Nation theory right,' Suharwardy said. 'I support the resolution and urge the House to pass it.' In his address, PDP legislator Naeem Akther said J&K has done a 'biggest ever favour' to India in 1947 by deciding to side with it despite having the Muslim character. 'This time around, people are in such a situation where miseries are everywhere. How should we respond in this situation?' He said Kashmiris must raise their voice as primary stakeholders in the Indo-Pak dialogue. 'Kashmiris can't be ignored anymore as they are the primary sufferers of the hostilities between India and Pakistan,' he said. Akther said when Chief Ministers like Akhlesh Yadav can announce Rs 20-crore compensation for a soldier who dies in service due to various reasons, 'why can't the J&K government give compensation to those who have lost their lives in cross-LOC firing?' On the resolution, the PDP legislator said it should be passed without amendments. In his speech, Congress member Monga later accused BJP of being the main culprit of the present Indo-Pak tension. 'BJP is responsible for the escalation of violence at the LoC. BJP closed doors for talks; what option is left now. Are they advocating war between India and Pakistan,' he questioned. He said BJP is 'polarizing the situation' in J&K ahead of assembly polls to gain political mileage. Sensing the unanimous consensus of the House over the issue, Monga later withdrew his amendments to the resolution. Later, Chairman put the resolution to vote and it was passed unanimously. Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chairman LC Amrit Malhotra said to avoid confusion as to who deserves the credit for the resolution, it was decided that he will move the resolution himself. Asked whether it was for the first time such a resolution was passed in the Upper House, he said: 'My experience tells me that it is a historic resolution. I don't think any Chairman of the LC has brought such a resolution in the House. Members may have moved similar resolutions in the past.'