Unity, compassion while dealing with Kashmir: Modi

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Unity and compassion have been the key words while dealing with the unrest in the Kashmir Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

Modi said these two words invariably and persistently emerged during his interaction with different political parties who spoke in one voice on the issue.

“Whatever happened in Kashmir, all the political parties spoke in one voice. They gave a message to the world as well as to the separatists while conveying our sensitivities towards Kashmirs,” Modi said in his “Mann Ki Baat” radio address.

“In my interaction with different political groups, one thing emerged. It was unity and compassion to be the core mantra of our policy in Kashmir.”

Modi said that every single life lost in Kashmir, be it of a Kashmiri youth or a security personnel, was a loss of the nation.

“It is evident that every single life lost in Kashmir … is our loss, our country’s loss,” the Prime Minister said.

More than 70 people have been killed and thousands injured in street clashes since security forces shot dead a militant, Burhan Wani, on July 8 in the Kashmir Valley.

Modi said the troublemakers who were trying to use children as shields in Kashmir would have to answer for their deeds one day.

“Those trying to incite trouble from behind children will have to answer for their deeds to these innocent children some day,” he said.

The Prime Minister insisted that to keep India united, we should promote and highlight things which promote unity and integrity.

“Our country is very large and it is full of diversity. To keep a diverse country like ours united, it is our responsibility to highlight and focus on things which promote unity and integrity.

"Only then will we make a bright future for ourselves, which we will do,” Modi said.



Pakistan to 'forcefully' highlight Kashmir issue at UNGA

Islamabad, Aug 18 (IANS) Pakistan is to “forcefully” present its stance on India’s “state terrorism” in Jammu and Kashmir at the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is going to take this issue very forcefully at the UN platform,” Nafees Zakaria, Foreign Office spokesman, said in his weekly press briefing.

Zakaria said Pakistan has always raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the annual UNGA session and mentioned Sharif’s speech at last year’s session “where he strongly highlighted the internationally recognized dispute”.

He said most UN Security Council members had “already been taken onboard on the continued human rights violations” in Kashmir Valley.

At least 65 people, including children, have been killed in Kashmir Valley battling the worst outbreak of unrest in many years.

The latest round of violence in Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan, was triggered on July 9, a day after Burhan Wani, a popular young commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-Pakistan group, Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed.



Burhan Wani's father meets Ravi Shankar

Bengaluru, Aug 28 (IANS) The father of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, whose death sparked off the current violent unrest in the Kashmir Valley, has met spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

A spokesman said the two men discussed several issues.

“Ravi Shankar and (Muzaffar) Wani discussed several issues including the current situation and how normalcy can be restored in the valley,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The discussions were “purely on a personal and humanitarian angle”, the statement added.

Earlier, Ravi Shankar tweeted that Muzaffar Wani stayed at the Art of Living ashram here for two days and discussed several issues.

The spiritual guru also tweeted a photo of himself with Wani.

Burhan Wani, 22, was killed by security forces on July 8 in south Kashmir.

Over 70 people have died in clashes with security forces in the Kashmir Valley since Wani’s death.



Any talks on Kashmir must include Pakistan: Mirwaiz

Srinagar, Aug 24 (IANS) Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Wednesday said any proposed talks on Jammu and Kashmir should involve all stakeholders including Pakistan.

Terming the unrest in the Kashmir Valley a “political problem” which requires a “political solution”, the Mirwaiz told CNN News18 that all stakeholders, including Pakistan, should be included in any proposed talks over the Kashmir issue.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh is on a two-day visit to Kashmir to interact with political leaders and people in a bid to restore normalcy in the valley.

Mirwaiz, who is leader of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, said Indian authorities had got into the habit of blaming separatists for any trouble in the valley.

“It’s always separatists, Pakistan or traitors who are blamed (for problems in the valley) and never the Indian establishment,” he said.

Over 65 people have died in clashes with security forces since the July 8 killing of Hizbul leader Burhan Wani.



PM stresses Kashmir dialogue, but solution 'within Constitution'

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told Jammu and Kashmir opposition parties that “there has to be a dialogue” to end the weeks-long unrest in the valley but any solution to the problem will be “within the Constitution” of India.

The Prime Minister’s statement indicates that the government may be considering some political initiative on Kashmir where the over-five weeks long agitation has left nearly 70 people dead in clashes between pro-freedom protesters and security forces. Opposition parties in Delhi as well as in Kashmir have been pressing for political solution to the unrest.

At a meeting with a delegation of opposition parties from the state, Modi expressed “deep concern and pain” over the violence in Kashmir and the loss of lives in the unrest.

“Those who lost their lives during recent disturbances are part of us, our nation. Whether the lives lost are of our youth, security personnel or police, it distresses us,” Modi said, according to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“There has to be a dialogue and we need to find a permanent and lasting solution to the problem within the framework of the Constitution,” he said.

Leaders of Kashmir opposition parties led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah urged the Prime Minister for a political initiative to deal with the unrest, complaining that the state and central governments had shown no political will to respond to the crisis – the deadliest Kashmir has seen in six years.

Abdullah said they told Modi that Kashmir was not an issue related to the development or the lack of it. “It is a political issue and we told the Prime Minister that we need a political approach to deal with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” Abdullah told IANS.

“If we don’t find a political solution to this, then every time we’ll repeat the same mistake.”

The National Conference working president said the they handed over a memorandum to the Prime Minister warning him against the “tried and tested formulations of dealing with the issue in Kashmir administratively rather than politically”.

“We are of the firm opinion that the central government should waste no further time in initiating a credible and meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders to address the unrest.”

State Congress chief G.A. Mir said the meeting with Modi may augur well for Kashmir. “The Prime Minister agreed that development isn’t the only way out, indicating a thinking that a dialogue over Kashmir is being considered. We are hopeful that it will happen soon.”

But Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the government had an incoherent policy over Kashmir with Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley “not on the same page”. He was referring to Jaitley’s remarks in Jammu on Sunday, ruling out any dialogue and warning that those indulging in violence would be dealt sternly.

The Prime Minister’s meeting with the Kashmir politicians comes as the valley remained under strict curfew for the 45th day in a row. The valley has been on the boil amid violent clashes between stone-throwing protesters and security forces since the July 8 killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani.

The clashes have also left thousands of people, including children, injured, mostly in pellet firing. Hundreds of the injured have partially or fully lost their eyesight after being hit by pellet guns – a dangerous mob control weapons used in Kashmir.

The Kashmir delegation sought an “immediate ban on pellet guns” and also urged the Prime Minister “to advice relevant quarters against the policy of mass harassment, raids, and arrests” in the valley.

“This has worsened an already volatile situation and also goes against the values and principles of democracy.”

The opposition leaders, including Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Yusuf Tarigami, have been in the capital for the last three days.

They met President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, seeking their intervention in bringing about an end to the unrest that has crippled life in the restive valley.



Five killed in new Kashmir violence

Srinagar, Aug 16 (IANS) Five civilian protesters were killed in firing by security forces as fresh violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday, taking the toll to 65 in the weeks of unrest triggered by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander.

A police officer told IANS here that four protesters were killed in Budgam district and one more in Anantnag.

The officer said the protesters, shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, threw stones at the security forces in Budgam’s Aripanthan village, some 30 km from here, in central Kashmir.

The security forces opened fire to bring the situation under control. One person was killed on the spot and three more succumbed to their injuries at a hospital. More than a dozen persons sustained injuries in the incident.

Another civilian was killed when security forces fired at an unruly mob who were throwing stones at police and paramilitary troopers in Larkipora village of Anantnag district, some 60 km south of here.

At least a dozen protesters were also injured in the violence, the latest in a series of clashes that have rocked the Kashmir Valley in more than five weeks.

The valley has been on the boil amid curfew and separatist shutdown that continued for the 39th day in a row on Tuesday.

Police said curfew and restrictions would continue in all the 10 districts of the valley. Separatists have already extended their protest shutdown to August 18.

All educational institutions, shops, public transport and other businesses have remained shut since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed.