Prime Minister Narendra Modi, criticised by the opposition for not speaking in parliament on the unrest in Kashmir, will today attend an all-party meeting called to discuss a political solution.
The opposition wants the government to detail at the meeting, planned at 12.30 pm, a political road map to resolve the crisis in Kashmir, where over 50 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces and more than 5000 are injured in the last month.
The Valley has been under curfew since July 8 when the killing of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, triggered violent protests. Schools and colleges have been closed and very few people are attending office.
Opposition parties have sought that a delegation made up of members of different parties be sent to Kashmir to reach out to the people, but the team will need a nuanced brief with the unrest in the Valley at a peak. There are reports that separatists plan to organise events across the region to celebrate Pakistan Day on August 14.
A senior Congress leader said,” The government doesn’t seem to have any solution to offer right now. Even if it decides to send an all party delegation there is no clarity on who it will meet and talk to.”
One of the proposals that the opposition plans to bring to the meeting today is a ban on the use of pellet guns by forces to control violent crowds. At least 100 people have been blinded by pellets in the last month and many others are injured.
The opposition believes banning pellet guns will be a good beginning to an outreach aimed at correcting what it has called a “trust deficit.”
As he wrapped up a discussion in the Rajya Sabha earlier this week, home minister Rajnath Singh said that forces have been asked to “exercise maximum restraint” in the Valley.
Rajnath Singh’s assurance in parliament that the region will not be handed over to the Army after the Amarnath yatra was expected to ease some tension, but it so far it seems to have had little impact.
The government has proposed that both Houses be adjourned before the all-party meeting is held. The month-long monsoon session ends today.
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