Don’t politicise civilian killings: Azad

Don’t politicise civilian killings: Azad
Azad said Kashmir in the last more than thirty years has witnessed "different phases of militancy" and different forms of modus operandi used in targeting civilians and politicians.File/ GK

Srinagar: Asserting that security agencies must act faster against those involved in civilian killings, senior Congress leader and former Member Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad, who completed his two-day Kashmir visit on Wednesday, said that attacks on non-locals “should not be politicised by connecting them with the forthcoming polls in many states across the country”.

“I met 60 to 70 delegations during my two day visit here. It is heartening the way people have come out to speak against these killings. The killings should not be politicised and cannot be connected with the soon to happen elections (in many states),” Azad said while addressing a media conference at his residence here.

Terming his visit to Kashmir and meeting with several delegations here as an “eye-opener”, the former Chief Minister said he had originally planned a visit to all 10 districts of the Valley but had to last minute change his itinerary due to the recent civilian killings.

“I wanted to have a district-wise tour including Ramban but due to the situation had to call leaders, traders’ and employees’ representatives to Srinagar to interact with them,” Azad said.

Azad said Kashmir in the last more than thirty years has witnessed "different phases of militancy" and different forms of modus operandi used in targeting civilians and politicians.

Azad said the recent attacks on civilians by pistols from a close range “was a changed method” which security agencies need to handle with urgency.

“We have seen the phase of killings by militants with grenades and landmines. Later we witnessed a lot of killings of politicians in cars and at their homes. This use of pistols and attacking from a close range is the newest modus operandi being used to kill non-locals, members of minorities” said Azad.

Azad said the delegations he met during his visit here, were worried about the aftermath and backlash the killings of non-locals could lead to.

When asked whether there was a security lapse in the recent killings of non-locals, Azad said the targeted killing was “yet another phase” of militancy, for which a specific person in the administration could not be blamed.

“For the last three decades, we have seen ups and downs in militancy. These killings are yet another phase and we cannot say any specific person (in administration) is at fault,” said Azad.

On being asked why non-locals who have left Kashmir for their home states were making inflammatory statements against Kashmiris, Azad said: “These poor people have fled from here out of fear and whatever they are saying is a natural reaction. We must show solidarity with them.”

Stating that “militancy in any form should not be tolerated”, Azad said it was surprising that development has taken a hit due to militancy” and added that the high rate of unemployment and inflation in Jammu and Kashmir were taking a hit on its economy.

“During the stints of Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and even myself as Chief Ministers, development never stopped due to militancy. Development and militancy went together simultaneously. People I met during my two-day visit made it clear that development in J&K remained restricted to papers. Look at how inflation is breaking the backs of people” Azad said.

Azad who completed his two-day Kashmir visit on Wednesday after meeting several delegations left for Jammu in the afternoon where he is scheduled to meet more delegations.

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