Government clueless about Kashmir, says Karat (Lead)

August 23rd, 2010 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 23 (IANS) Condemning the use of bullets against stone-pelting mobs that have led to deaths of over 60 Kashmiri civilians in two months, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Monday alleged that the central government was “totally clueless” about the Kashmir issue.
As the deaths in the unending violent unrest which began June 11 rose to 63 with the passing away of a 22-year-old youth Monday, Karat said stone-pelting protests in Kashmir cannot be met with bullets by security forces.

Addressing a media conference here, Karat said a CPI-M delegation was in the Srinagar city to sympathise with the families who have lost their dear ones in the over two months of unrest in the valley.

“We want to tell them (bereaved families) that there are forces in India which condemn such actions,” he said.

Accusing the central and state governments of treating the new Kashmir unrest as “the law and order issue and administrative issue”, the CPI-M leader said the Kashmir problem needed a political solution.

“The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is totally clueless on how to start the dialogue with all shades of opinion in the state,” he said, advocating an “open-ended” dialogue without preconditions.

“The talks must be open-ended without any preconditions from either side,” the CPI-M leader said, urging the central government to initiate such a dialogue process.

He said the troubled state should be treated as a “special case” and maximum autonomy granted to address the problem.

“The situation is extremely serious here and we see no justification for the deaths of those killed during the clashes by security forces. We are appalled and shocked… There is no justification whatsoever for such a large death (toll) of young people,” he said.

Condemning the use of bullets against stone-pelting protesters, Karat said: “The protests (in Kashmir) have been in the form of stone pelting and to meet this with police firing is something which should not be condoned in a democratic country like India.”

He also condemned the alleged arrest of teenagers in the valley, saying, “I am not able to understand how can the government arrest and detain minors”.

“I just saw newspapers and read about cases of children less than 18 years put to jail… You cannot jail a teenager. These young people must not be kept in jail,” he said.

Karat announced a token donation of Rs.5 lakh from his party for the treatment of the people who were wounded in the over two-month long turmoil.

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