Amnesty report rocks Assembly
It’s Black Spot On Democracy: Mehbooba
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Mar 22: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday said the Amnesty International’s criticism of detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) in the state is a “black spot on the fair name of country’s democratic system” and points to “reversal” of healing touch policy in the state.
“The Amnesty International has not targeted the state government but it is a black spot on the country’s democratic system,” Mehbooba said in the state assembly.
Participating in the discussion on demands for grants for the departments under Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s charge, Mehbooba said that mishandling of the situation in Kashmir and the policies adopted by the government have led to such damning observations by the international human rights watchdog.
“The damning report on the misuse of PSA in Kashmir highlights the reversal of the healing touch policy and reconciliation process in the state by the present coalition. This is not PDP which has raised finger on the detention of youth under PSA but it’s the report of an internationally acclaimed human rights body,” she said.
“The report should be taken as a challenge to set things right in the state, sooner the better,” she maintained.
Taking a dig at the Chief Minister, the PDP president said that he (Omar) used micro-blogging site Twitter to paint her black for gaining “brownie points” when he “blackmailed” her by wrongly quoting that she wanted to replicate the Egypt in Kashmir.
“I never used the words that Egypt should be replicated in Kashmir. You tried to paint me black by making wrong remarks against me,” she maintained.
Mehbooba alleged that valley has been turned into a “huge prison” and it is unfortunate that over 1500 youth are still being hunted down by the police forcing them to go into hiding.
Reiterating her party’s demand for withdrawal of troops from the civilian areas, she remarked, “When we talk about troop withdrawal from residential areas we give the people a responsibility to take care of the security of their respective localities.”
On the rehabilitation policy announced by the government, Mehbooba said that policy has nothing to offer for the youth. “You talk of rehabilitating the youth who went to other side of border for arms training, but what about rehabilitating those who have been booked under PSA for throwing stones. Government has no policy for them”, she said. “Nearly 1500 youth are on the run and they are not residing in their homes as police are after them. Even 14-year old kids like Faizan have been detained under PSA”, she said.
She said that 2008 assembly elections were termed as “historic” and people demonstrated their will and rejected bullet for ballot, but in return they were subjected to unending repression. “Today same people are facing the most brutal police action. Even interlocutors appointed by the Central Government have admitted that detention of youth is quite alarming in Kashmir”, she claimed.
She said that Chief Minister talks about Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but what about the 117 deaths during 2010 unrest. “It is the government which has to create congenial atmosphere for initiating any plan to provide justice to the people”, she said.
TALK TO YOUNG SEPARATISTS
Urging government to talk to young leaders among separatists groups as they are also stakeholders in any solution, Mehbooba said, “What if Geelani Sahab does not come to table, we should create a way for young leaders like Yasin Malik, Sajjad Lone, Umar Farooq so that talks could be initiated with them. Leaders outside the mainstream have to be involved”, she said.
The PDP leader said that there is no dearth of youth leaders in Kashmir. “Be it mainstream political parties or the separatists groups, Jammu and Kashmir has no dearth of youth leaders. The separatist groups also represent a thought and when we talk about a solution, we should also talk to the leaders outside the mainstream. Their future is also directly linked to the future of Jammu and Kashmir,” she maintained.
She added, “We have to rise above party interests and Chief Minister has to be facilitator not a bottleneck. You have to give them a way for talks. These young separatist leaders want to contribute in solving the Kashmir imbroglio”.
Mehbooba said that the first and foremost approach of the government should be to create “congenial” atmosphere and involvement of all shades of opinion for any resolution to the problem.
DEFENDING MUFTI OVER AFSPA
Defending PDP patron and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed over introduction of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, when he was Home Minister in 1990, Mehbooba Mufti said, “NC blames Mufti for introduction of the AFSPA, but I must ask you who extended it to Jammu in 1996. You had two-third majority in Assembly but no major step was taken to repeal it at that time”.
She said that in 2007 then Congress-PDP government took the decision to withdraw security forces from the civilian areas and it had a huge psychological impact on the people. She alleged that attempts are being made to sabotage any process to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Praising former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, she said that despite lot of pressures he took the initiative and visited Pakistan. “I salute Vajpayee Sahab for initiating bus diplomacy and for categorically asking Parvez Musharraf that borders cannot be changed”.
DISCUSSION ON ROADMAPS
Favouring a discussion on roadmap suggested by the PDP and the National Conference viz Self rule and Greater Autonomy proposals respectively, Mehbooba said that these formulas need to be discussed for finding a solution.
“Whether it is autonomy or self rule proposal, we should discuss these formulas. We can also discuss the areas of differences so that an amicable solution to the problem is made,” she maintained.
Mehbooba said her party has not confined solution to the Kashmir problem to Self-Rule or Autonomy. She said IAS and IPS officers in the State should be in the ratio of 90: 10 to ensure local officers have adequate say and access in administrative matters.
Asking the ruling parties to find common points of interest for bridging gap with the opposition and separatists, Mehbooba said that the government both at central level as well as in the state will have to find a starting point for evolving a peaceful and meaningful solution to vexed issue.
Mehbooba said the government should realize that there are various factors including revocation of AFSPA, reduction of troops and release of political prisoners, which can be used at a starting point for carrying forward the peace process”.
LEGISLATORS SEEK GOVT RESPONSE
Meanwhile, legislators sought reply from the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the Amnesty report.
As soon as the House convened for the day, Independent MLA from Langate Er Abdul Rashid got up from his seat and demanded repealing of “black laws” from the state.
Er Rashid, while referring to the report of the Amnesty International said that these laws are a “big blot” on the system and these should be repealed.
“Both the Government of India and the State Government are talking about cordial atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir and the same could not be achieved until and unless the government withdrew all the black laws like PSA from the state,” he remarked.
He demanded that the government should take serious note of the report and act accordingly.
Soon after the Question Hour, MLA Kulgam MY Tarigami also drew the attention of the House towards the AI report and sought a reply from the Chief Minister to “clear the confusion.”
He also demanded that the government should also take “corrective measures” while restoring law and order situation in the state.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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