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PM should speak on Kashmir in Parliament, not in MP: Congress targets Modi

The Congress party today attacked the government over the issue of the Kashmir unrest and Dalit violence in the Rajya Sabha. Initiating a debate, Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, wondered why Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to ‘avoid ma
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi August 10, 2016 17:05 IST
India TV Politics Desk

The Congress party today attacked the government over the issue of the Kashmir unrest and Dalit violence in the Rajya Sabha. Initiating a debate, Leader of Opposition, Ghulam Nabi Azad, wondered why Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to ‘avoid making statements’ in the Parliament, instead choosing to talk about it elsewhere.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Azad criticized PM Modi's absence from the House during the sensitive debate, saying, "The Prime Minister is so close, yet so far".

"The Prime Minister reaches the Parliament (complex) everyday at 10 am. He stays in his (Parliament) office till 6 pm. His room is barely a minute and a half from both the Houses," Azad said, adding that “earlier PMs would rush to the House if there was a pressing discussion on any issue, but this Prime Minister has not attended.”

“The Prime Minister should come to Parliament and discuss Kashmir here,” he added.

“Don't just love Kashmir for its beauty. Love Kashmir for its people, love the children and people who lost their eyes (in protests),” Azad further said.

"We always say Kashmir is an integral part of India. But integral part should not be on paper only. There should be integration of minds and hearts. Kashmir has had curfew for over 30 days. Many have been killed. Thousands are injured. If something happens in Africa, you (Modi) tweet, Pakistan is an enemy nation, still you speak when something happens there. It is good to show sympathy with all. But the crown of India (Kashmir) is burning. You must have felt the heat on your head, if not the heart," the Congress leader said.

He asked the government not to see the valley as a mere law and order problem and called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. He also asked for a delegation to be sent to Kashmir to find a political solution to problems of the people there.

"Kashmir is a complex issue. Politics comes first, economics second, employment after that. If we talk about electricity, roads and water, and not about politics, it will be wrong," Azad said.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday broke his silence over the Kashmir issue at a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district. He had evoked former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s model of ‘insaniyat’ and appealed for peace in the border state.
 
The debate comes as the Kashmir witnesses shutdown and curfew for 33rd day. Over 50 people have been killed and thousands injured in the violence on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.

Azad also criticised the Prime Minister for not speaking on atrocities against Dalits in the House.

“We did not hear Prime Minister’s statement on Dalit issues here in the Parliament. We got to hear about his views from Telangana. We have been repetitively demanding that PM should come and make statements on such issues (Kashmir & Dalit issues) in the Parliament,” the Congress leader said.

PM Modi has twice in a week spoken on the issue of atrocities against Dalits in the name of cow. The first time he had during the town-hall type meeting said that ‘self-styled gau rakshaks (cow protectors) makes him angry’ and that there ‘is a need for strict action against those involved in it’.

The second time he had spoken on the issue was at a public rally in Hyderabad. He had urged opponents to stop doing politics on Dalit and asked the assaulters to attack him instead of Dalits.