THE CONGRESS Sunday lashed at the central government for not taking the opposition on board and demanded an all-party meeting on the current situation in Kashmir. The party also accused the security forces of using “disproportionate force” on protesters in the Valley.
“They (government) have a style. They don’t talk to anyone. They don’t talk in Parliament. Whether there are issues of foreign policy, they never tried to talk to us. But on Kashmir, there is need to talk to thousands of people,” said senior party leader Salman Khurshid at a press conference in Srinagar.
A two-member Congress team of Khurshid and Ambika Soni visited the Valley Sunday to assess the situation after 39 people were killed in protests triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8.
Khurshid accused the security forces of using disproportionate force against the protesters but said they too are under stress. “We have very clearly said our understanding is that disproportionate and excessive force is being used,” he said. “But the security men who serve under these conditions are under great stress. We can’t be insensitive to the forces who serve here to protect the country. But that doesn’t give them the freedom to kill at will. The safeguards have all disappeared.”
WATCH VIDEO: Kashmir Protests: Visuals Of Curfew In the State
Soni demanded an all-party meet to discuss the Kashmir situation “to reach out to people” and immediate medical help for “all those who are still suffering”. She called for a ban on the use of pellets on the protesters. “Around 130-160 children have been blinded by the relentless and excessive use of pellets on the protesters,” said Soni.
Meanwhile, curfew continued in the Valley for the ninth consecutive day as protests erupted at several places.
At Saderkote Bala village of Bandipore, three civilians were injured when Army opened fire at protesters. Police said the forces opened fire when the protesters tried to “storm their camp”.
“Three people were injured in the incident,” Bandipore Deputy Commissioner Sajad Hussain Ganai told The Indian Express. “As of now, no death has been reported.” Protests were reported from Sopore, Bandipore, Kunzer, Srinagar, Tral and several other places.
In a separate development, Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Geelani Sunday wrote to five global organisations, including UNSC and European Union, to draw the attention towards the Kashmir situation. Copies of the letter were also sent to some Muslim countries and China.
In the letter, Geelani asked the international community to use their “good offices” to urge India to implement six Confidence Building Measures, including repeal of AFSPA and release of political leaders, for return of peace to the Valley.
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