National Conference on Thursday expressed disappointment and dismay over the “belligerent” remarks of the Army Chief about dealing mercilessly with the “isolated and alienated” youth of Kashmir and said such posturing would compound the situation and increase the hostility in the Valley.
In a statement issued from Party Headquarters here, NC State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu and Political Secretary to Working President Tanvir Sadiq said it was tragic that New Delhi was still trying to talk to the youth of Kashmir “through the defense establishment when the need of the hour is to engage them politically.”
“Youth rushing towards encounter sites and incidents of stone-pelting on the forces during encounters are worrying and alarming signs of alienation and disenchantment in Kashmir. The need of the hour is to understand and acknowledge the deep sense of isolation in Kashmir and deal with it with statesmanship and magnanimity.
“Threatening and warning youth who are already anguished and irrational to the sense of caring little for their lives will be of little consequence but would only push them farther from reconciliation”, the statement said.
The NC leaders said aggressive, hot-headed statements would “bring spurt in local militancy in Kashmir and make the challenge of engaging with the youth insurmountable.
“Young men are choosing the path of armed militancy in Kashmir in numbers that we haven’t seen since the early 90s. Even though the passes along the Line of Control are still snowed shut, militancy related incidents have increased steeply due to a spurt in young, educated local boys picking up the gun. Even after the mayhem and bloodshed of 2016, if New Delhi still thinks warning and threatening the youth will help – it’s a tragic delusion”, the NC statement added.
“We need to understand there is a significant, palpable social sanctity for militancy in the young demographic in Kashmir and this derives its vitality from the political sentiment and how New Delhi has failed to engage with the sentiment in a sustained and constructive manner.
“This social sanctity can’t be eradicated by threats of showing ‘no mercy’. If anyone thinks threatening the youth will help – that individual and that establishment has clearly failed to analyze the recent history of the political turmoil in Kashmir. Repression and retaliation will only fuel the anger”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the party termed the statement of army chief in which he had said that “people creating hurdles during anti-militancy operations in J&K would be dealt as anti-nationals and will face harsh actions”, as ‘unfortunate’.
“It’s an unfortunate and disappointing statement. He should have avoided such language which sends very wrong message about people of Kashmir in rest of the world,” said National Conference’s general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar.
“Common people in the Kashmir are not involved in such incidents – stone pelting— so they should not be dragged into any controversy. The government should try to win hearts of Kashmiri people. Such statements would compound the situation and increase the hostility in the Valley,” NC general secretary said.
NC MLA said the valley is still to come to terms after 2016 unrest and the prime objective of the government should to ensure that Kashmir remains peaceful.
“Such statement and that too from the army chief has the potential of further worsening the situation,” he said.