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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

Congress aims Kashmir film promotion barb at Modi govt

Party advises government to engage seriously with stakeholders, adopt confidence-building measures and deal firmly with the militants

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 04.06.22, 01:59 AM
Art students in Mumbai on Friday pay tribute to Kashmiri pandits over the recent targeted attacks  in the Valley.

Art students in Mumbai on Friday pay tribute to Kashmiri pandits over the recent targeted attacks in the Valley. PTI photo

The Congress on Friday alleged “a lack of statesmanship” in dealing with the Kashmir issue, warning Prime Minister Narendra Modi against relying on “propaganda” as an instrument of policy.

The party expressed concern at the atmosphere of fear and the latest departure of Pandits from the Valley, and contested the idea that the law-enforcement agencies alone could tackle the situation.

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It advised the government to engage seriously with the stakeholders, adopt confidence-building measures such as the restoration of statehood, and deal firmly with the militants.

“What we see is a lack of statesmanship. If you are truly concerned about a problem, you will deal with it seriously,” Congress leader Vivek Tankha, a Kashmiri Pandit settled in Madhya Pradesh, said at a news conference.

“You can’t adopt a non-serious approach. You need a sensitive, all-inclusive approach. You can’t rely on propaganda to solve the problem. Hitler would have won the world if propaganda helped beyond a point.”

Although Tankha didn’t elaborate, the allusion seemed to be to the hype created by the BJP around the film The Kashmir Files, whose interpretation of the circumstances around the Pandits’ 1990s exodus from the Valley has deeply divided opinion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the entire BJP ecosystem had come out to promote the film. The Congress is now flagging Modi’s silence at a time Kashmiri Pandits are facing renewed violence in Kashmir.

Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on Thursday: “Bank manager, teacher and other people are being killed. Kashmiri Pandits are fleeing. Those responsible for their security are busy promoting a film. The BJP has used Kashmir as a ladder for power. Mr Prime Minister, take immediate steps to restore peace in Kashmir.”

Tankha demanded adequate security for Kashmir’s people and the around 10,000 migrants working in the region.

“Let this be the last day of targeted killing. You have to provide security. You can’t just be playing with the feelings of the people. It can’t become a permanent feature,” he said.

“People are fleeing in fear. Don’t allow another exodus. Think about the reasons for this kind of a volatile situation. You can’t be always blaming the previous government. For eight years, you are dealing with Kashmir.”

Tankha demanded that the government come out with a road map to peace.

“The Prime Minister tweets on everything, why is he silent on the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits now? People are agitating for weeks, they are giving ultimatums. Murders have taken place inside government offices,” he said.

“Communication is the key. You can’t solve this problem through the agencies alone. Talk to the stakeholders. Restore statehood. Show sensitivity and compassion. You have to win people’s trust if you want peace.”

Tankha recalled how he had said in Parliament that there was more to Kashmir than Article 370, the remark coming in response to home minister Amit Shah’s contention that the removal of the constitutional provision would bring peace to the troubled region.

Shah had blamed Article 370 for terrorism, lack of development and the weak democratic structures in the then state and hoped that its 2019 revocation would allow Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley and live in peace.

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