Stating that Government of India cannot address Kashmiris' alienation and heal their wounds by bullets, pellets and ballot, the MLA Kulgam and CPI (M) senior leader M Y Tarigami on Monday demanded a probe into civilian killings on a polling day in Srinagar parliamentary constituency on Sunday.
"The civilian killings by forces during polls yesterday are shameful and unprecedented. It is for the first time in electoral history of Kashmir that such a massacre has occurred. For two parliamentary seats, New Delhi overlooked grave Kashmir situation," Tarigami said addressing a press conference here.
"Government of India cannot address alienation of Kashmiris and heal their wounds by bullets, pellets and ballot. I demand probe into these killings so that the accused are brought to book. This will serve as a deterrent and forces will realize they are accountable," he said.
Tarigami said New Delhi has not learnt any lessons from 2016 uprising in Kashmir. "Government of India instead of elections, should have held unconditional dialogue with stakeholders and taken confidence building measures like constituting judicial commission to probe 2016 civilian killings. Ironically, it compounded the problem by starting arrest spree and choking political space for dissent in Kashmir. People are blinded by pellets and even their right to protest is snatched," he said.
The MLA Kulgam said he had "cautioned" New Delhi against holding parliamentary elections in Kashmir. "On the basis of ground situation, I had forewarned that wounds of Kashmiris who bore brunt of forces in last year's uprising are still fresh. I cried hoarse that situation is not conducive for elections, but Government of India, the Election Commission of India and state authorities did not pay any heed. New Delhi did not read writing on the wall in Kashmir and went ahead with election putting lives of Kashmiris at stake for just two parliamentary seats," he said.
Elaborating, he said, New Delhi has to understand that Kashmir issue is a not a "matter of terrorism" or law and order issue. "It concerns the legitimate aspirations and issues of Kashmiris who want their resolution."
"We have been maintaining even in the Parliament that genesis of uprising in Kashmir is political and only political approach can resolve it. The fresh killing spree of civilians is not only setback to the election process but dent to credibility of institutions from Delhi to Srinagar. Electoral process can be a part of political process but cannot be exclusively an answer to the political crisis which Jammu and Kashmir is facing. Elections are secondary and rebuilding trust with Kashmiris is imperative."
"Though Narendra Modi (Prime Minister) has won elections in Uttar Pradesh but his policies have failed in Kashmir. I appeal to democratic sections of whole Parliament in the country to heal wounds of Kashmiris. Those whose conscience is alive must raise their voice against oppression and impress the Government of India to address alienation in Kashmir," he said.
Tarigami also appealed to mainstream and separatists parties in Kashmir to rise above their political stands and formulate a common ground. "There has been a common voice even if we don't agree to each other's ideology. It is criminal to endanger lives of Kashmir as it amounts to dismantling idea of India's plurality, secularism and democracy," he said.
"Before it is too late I appeal to the intellectual community, civil society, Left movement, democratic institutions to raise their voice together… Kashmiris are crying, they want they should be heard," Tarigami added.