National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah and Working President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday expressed concern over "escalation" in Indo-Pak hostility and "absence of a meaningful political initiative over the current political situation in Jammu and Kashmir."
"While National Conference joins the people of J&K in expressing serious concern over the escalation of tension and hostility between India and Pakistan and the ramifications of this situation on peace and stability in the region, we are equally concerned about the absence of any meaningful political initiative from New Delhi to deal with the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir," they said in a joint statement.
"Unfortunately, despite the alarming situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the horrifying human costs of this current unrest, New Delhi continues to look at the political situation in Jammu and Kashmir through a security prism."
The statement read that the recent indications of New Delhi taking steps to increase military presence and re-establish military camps and bunkers in Kashmir "have augmented the sense disaffection and skepticism in the State."
"These security measures cannot be alternatives to a political initiative," the Abdullahs said.
Multiple visits by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh as well as the visit by an all-party parliamentary delegation has yielded no result and failed to create a conducive atmosphere for the initiation of a sustainable and meaningful political process, they said.
"Similarly, a joint outreach by a delegation of opposition parties from J&K that called on the President and the Prime Minister in New Delhi in addition to other national leaders has also failed to convince New Delhi about the sensitivity and urgency of the evolving situation in J&K. Even suggestions to take certain basic, interim measures to deescalate the situation in J&K – while contours of a larger initiative are conceived – have been summarily ignored."
With over 80 young boys and girls having lost their lives, numerous youth permanently blinded and more than 13,000 having been injured, "such blatant disregard for the current situation in J&K is extremely unfortunate and tragic," they said.
"This indifference and perceived insensitivity can have serious long-term implications."
New Delhi's "refusal" to take concrete and visible steps to address the internal dimensions of the political issue in J&K, even within the often articulated 'framework of the Constitution of India' has become a diplomatic weakness that is exploited time and again at various international fora, Omar and Farooq said.
"Lack of a structured and sustained bilateral engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad over the last few years has also created a gaping political vacuum that threatens peace and stability in the region," they said.
The current policy of dealing with the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir operationally is a reiteration of the tried, tested and failed formulations of dealing with an inherently political issue through military and administrative means, they added. "Mass arrests and widespread curbs in the state will only deepen the sense of alienation among the youth and take us further away from the goal of peace and reconciliation. We hope New Delhi acknowledges the unaffordable costs of ignoring the political issue in Jammu and Kashmir are primarily to be borne by the people of the State."