The Congress on Wednesday raised questions over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks about 'insaniyat', 'jamhooriyat' and 'Kashmiriyat' and said appeal should go out to Kashmiris from the "heart" rather than "lips" only to enable "integration of minds and heart".
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress
As the Rajya Sabha took up a discussion on the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad pitched for sending an all-party delegation to the valley besides an appeal by Parliament for end to violence which is being witnessed there for the last 33 days.
"We should appeal for peace and tranquility from here for better future of Kashmir. This kind of unison voice should go from Parliament. That apart, an all-party delegation should go there," the Congress leader said, adding the announcement regarding it should be made immediately as the session is coming to an end in two days.
Initiating the discussion, Azad said criticised the Prime Minister for his "delayed" comments on the Kashmir situation and said even those were made at a rally in Madhya Pradesh rather than in Parliament.
"We are discussing the Kashmir issue for the fourth time. The Prime Minister should come. The Prime Minister chose Madhya Pradesh to speak on Kashmir. He did not come to this House," he said, adding "Since when has Madhya Pradesh become the capital of the country?"
Azad took a swipe on Modi regarding his statement on 'Insaniyat (humanity), Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmriyat, saying such statements only suited former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"Such words sound weird if it comes from someone who does not believe in them," he said.
The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said such words should come from the "heart" and not only from the lips.
Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Azad said, "He tweets if something happens in Africa. Even if something happens in our enemy country, Pakistan, he issues condemnation. It is not wrong to show sympathy if humanity is hurt anywhere in the world. But in our own country, when the 'Crown of India' is burning, does the heat not reach...he should have spoken."
Citing media reports, he said Modi spoke on Kashmir on insistance of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. "Had the CM not spoken. Even today, PM would not have spoken," he added.
Referring to Modi's comment that all Indians love Kashmir, the Congress leader said, "One should not love Kashmir for its beauty and nature alone. One should love people out there as well."
"Love the people who live there. Love the children who lost their vision due to pellet injuries...," he said while insisting on a political solution.
Talking about the 33-day-old unrest, Azad said things are not flowing from democracy but through the barrel of "guns, pellet guns".He said there has been curfew for the last 33 days and thousands of people including civilians and security forces have been injured in the violence.
The problem in Kashmir is not a "normal law and order issue" like in any other state, Azad said, while underlining that the Centre should come forward to help the state as it is dependent on New Delhi for everything, including security, development and even salaries.While talking about the continuing problem of Kashmir, he said a lot needs to be done to strengthen the relationship between the Centre and the state.
He wondered what happened to reports of various committees, including one headed by late Justice Shabir Ahmed, which made several recommendations for strengthening the integration.
"The report was submitted in 2009-10. Still nothing has been done," he said.
Earlier, Azad associated himself with the views of BSP leader Satish Mishra on Dalit issue and took a jibe on the Prime Minister for making statement on the issue from Telangana and not in Parliament.
Shamsher Singh Manhas, a BJP leader (J-K)
Shamsher Singh Manhas, a BJP member from Jammu and Kashmir, criticised Azad, saying instead of talking about the real problems of Kashmir, he spent most of his time on criticising the Prime Minister.
He said he felt that pain of Kashmiris who were suffering as he contended that only a handful of people of the valley are playing in the hands of separatists.
Referring to the contention that the trouble in Kashmir is because of unemployment, Manhas said youth in Jammu and Ladakh, two other regions of the state, are also unemployed but they have not picked up guns and raised anti-India slogans.
"Jammu shares 500 km border with Pakistan. Everyday Pakistan does one or the other thing. ...55 per cent of population of the state lives in Jammu. More than 7 lakh youth are unemployed. Could they not have picked up the gun? Could not they have raised anti-India slogans? There is a difference between nationalism and separatism," he said.
Manhas said the same was true for Ladakh region.
To stress his point that only handful of people are influenced by separatists, he said 61 per cent of people voted in elections, which proves they have faith in democracy.
Insisting that locals in the Valley would have to fight the menace, Manhas said, "What is the reason behind turmoil? We should go into reasons."
Talking about the incidents of stone-pelting, the BJP leader wanted to know from where stones come and who provides them to youth. He said huge amount is spent on stone pelting.
He said the Modi government had taken a number of initiatives over the last two years, including announcement of a package of Rs 80,000 crore and decisions to set up institutions like AIIMS, IIT, IIM.
"Entire Kashmir is not in turmoil. You have Gujjars..... they are living peacefully. Separatists are creating entire turmoil. ...Handful of people are working on behest of separatists. Kashmir is not burning," he said.
He said Modi is following former Prime Minister Vajpayee's path for development of Kashmir.
"Every effort is made for development of J&K. Our government is constantly on the job," he said.
He also questioned Azad as to why people who came from West Pakistan in 1947 have not been given citizenship of India even though Congress ruled the country for nearly 55 years.
The BJP member called upon political parties to sit together and find a solution to the problem
Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav
Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav targeted Pakistan and "poison is being injected in the hearts and minds of the people" of Kashmir and that "no solution will be effective till the time the source of this venom is blocked".
He said the central government has been extending many facilities and the highest per capita support to Kashmir but it is not proving to be effective because of this poisoning.
He sought to trace the problem to "some past mistakes" including partition and failure to extract strong commitments from Pakistan after India's victories in the wars of 1965 and 1971.
"A number of princely states had become a part of India under Sardar Patel but Kashmir was handled by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru," Yadav noted and suggested that the country was suffering because of it now.He pointed out that Nehru had approached the UN in 1947 even when Indian forces were pushing back Pakistani troops from Kashmir.
"Had Nehru waited for a few more days before going to UN Security Council when Indian forces were repulsing Pakistan army-backed raiders from what is now Pak-occupied Kashmir, these areas would have been with India," he said.
He said even during the 1965 war, when Indian army had reached the doorstep of Lahore, or during the 1971 war when thousands of Pakistani troops surrendered, "we could not ensure a situation where the neighbouring country would no longer foment trouble".
Yadav said Pakistan is misleading the youth in Kashmir by showing them mirages. The people of that country want good relations but Pakistan army wants to keep tension on to keep a grip on Pakistan, he said.
He also referred to Pakistan TV, which glorifies and encourages terrorism, and can be seen in Kashmir and asked the government why it is not being blocked.
"A terrorist was killed by our forces on July 8 and look at what happened... Pakistan will always try to create trouble in Indian affairs. Till the time Pakistan is not taught a lesson, the Kashmir problem can't be solved," Yadav said.
He questioned why India does not raise the issue of Pakistan returning Kashmir occupied by it as he noted that Pakistan has ceded parts of that territory 'Aksai Chin' to China.
In his speech, Yadav also asserted that the use of pellet guns must be discontinued. He said if there is a compulsion to use force, other measures should be taken.