The country has one voice, irrespective of caste, region and religion, the Congress will stand by it
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad’s) Speech: I am standing here to share my feelings of pain, gloom and hurt. Sir, the situation that is prevailing in Kashmir today has many facets. First of all, there is internal problem. In such a situation what is and what should be the role of the Centre and the State government, how much effect does the situation within the country has on government! There are external forces spearheaded by Pakistan, how much responsible is that, these are the things which need to be pondered. I will not like to blame either Central government or the State government; but this much is certain that what we needed to learn we haven’t!
I was the Chief Minister there after that Umar Saheb became the CM and today it’s Mehbooba ji, this way, there have been 3 chief ministers from 3 different parties. During my regime it was an alliance between the NC and the Congress and today the PDP and the BJP are in coalition.
What is the matter of worry is that; why the situation reached this extreme state between 2008 and 2010. Militants used to be killed earlier as well. They were killed in large number in 90’s, in full decade. It happened during my tenure, during Umar Saheb’s tenure and under Mufti Sahiba; but situation was never so grime as was during 90’s. At present people have been killed in all the ten districts Valley the toll rose to 42 to 44. South Kashmir has borne maximum damages. The centre has 3 districts it took place in all, north has 3 districts it to suffered losses. Than there is no place in the valley nor any tehsil which remain undamaged. During our time if something happen in north the south was peaceful, if south was in turmoil the centre was unstirred. The way bullets were rained, initially guns were used, the brutality with which it was perpetrated. Sir, Whatsapp message, I don’t know it, I get information from friends, the people who send from Kashmir, you can’t even watch it. I saw a DIG crushing the mouth of four-five or six-seven year old child.
Such case must have being published in a few newspapers here but it is available to everyone in Kashmir. The brutality with which a five year child is being lathi charged, how horrified he would have been, mortally feared he is trying to save his life. Okay, children do pelt stones, they don’t support militancy, what we had done to root out militancy you can’t do even in 50 years. No one supports it, neither me nor my party including the Opposition but let me ask you, should there be a differentiation between militants and the common masses or not? The kind of treatment we meet out to the militants like we shoot them dead. We do the same thing with the people of the valley that includes small children, kids, the old people, the common women, should they be shot? Should we treat all the people of the valley in the same manner as we do with militants. We all are with you in finishing off the militancy but the way common kashmiri’s are treated I am sorry we are not with you.
How can it happen? There is no hospital, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences are full with injured, Bones and Joints Hospital where disease related to bones are treated is too is full. There is an Army Hospital in cantonment which is the big hospital housing 3 thousand beds named after Baba Saheb progeny, they have got the hospital SMHS that too has no vacancy. You go to Anantnag Pulwama, Shopiyan, Pulgam, there is no place for any fresh patient. No matter if he or she dying or not.
All these hospitals are full. Around 1800 boys, women, and men are injured. A majority of them fell victim to pellet guns, balled ammunition. Why don’t we see the similar situation in other parts of the country? A massive movement took place in our neighbouring state of Haryana, many were shot dead but these kinds of pellets were not used. The thousands of people lost their eyesights due to pellet attack. We see on television it shows it all in night. The girl child is aged 8 years, 9 years and some are 10 years old. There was no roof on their heads, they were watching the actions from wherever they could be it windows but they lost eyesight’s. Some lost one eyes, others the both. Sir, I want to tell you there must be some reason behind it. There have been a number of governments in the valley during last 26 to 27 years.
As I have submitted there was a governor rule, rule by NC, Mufti Saheb and Congress also ruled over, there was Congress government, Farooq Saheb also ruled over so did Umar Saheb. The militants were killed in a limit and with bullets an approach of healing touch policy continue to be followed.
I understand that there was no leniency in killing the militants during my regime, but when a custodial death occurs I got the corpse dug out of the grave and investigation was done. They were police officers, who were from Kashmir, not from outside, they were Jammu and Kashmir police officers, they are languishing in jail because that custodial death was found to be true. People had faith, they believe that militants would be killed but no harm will be done to common masses and if it did not happen the guilty would never be spared. There is a mountain of difference between now and then. Sternness with militants but those who are local, common man must get sober treatment from the government. Its behaviour should be fatherly, the kind of behaviour that should exist between and elected government and its electorate. We gave the same treatment and caring government.
Let me share three to four examples. As I told we learnt from our mistakes. I also read the statement of Umar Saheb. That you should learn and learn very well. When during my tenure the issue of providing temporary shades to the Amarnath yatries arose, a storm was created in Kashmir and peoples in lakhs joined demonstration. That was the lesson to be learned. When I withdrew that law lacks of people took to protest which was organized by your party. So let me tell you, you should have also learned the lesson, because that movement had been launched by your party but you refuse to learn the lesson.
Sir, all of you know it very well what is happening globally. I don’t want to go into those details. For us what is the matter of concern is that the population of the Muslims in India is second only to Indonesia and if we talk about practicing Muslims India is at no. 1. All these ISIS which is in the centre of international hatred is almost none existent, hardly it would be dozen. Despite Muslims having the largest population in India the existence of ISIS is negligible. This is a matter of pride for us is it not the issue of patriotism? What can be the better proof of patriotism of Muslims in India or in Today, no matter how big is the country in the world, there not even a single institution associated with the Muslims is there which has issued Fatwa against ISIS? It’s a matter of pride for me, for India to be Indians no matter whether one is Muslim or a Hindu. But the atmosphere that has come to prevail has not been caused by the Congress by the Samajwadi Party by Bahujan Samaj Party by the CPM by the TMC by AIIDMK or by DMK or by no party from Orissa. I feel hurt to say that the Ministers and MPs of the Ruling Party issue the statements which contribute to the conflagration of prevailing situation. It is said that no action taken against them. This house has been discussing this issue time and again now strong action should be taken against those Ministers who are in government and foment troubles by giving provocative statements which are creating crevice in the society, a wall is being drawn these MPs should be punished.
There is a reason why the action is not taken its impact falls on Kashmir that the Parliament discusses it thrice yet no action is taken, this is a very big reason. The kind of treatment that is meted out to the Kashmiri students in their institutions in other parts of the country, educational institutions in the name of security, the kind be behaviour shown to them. A little of these things are only published here but a lot areKashmir? published there. These things leave an impact on their mind to think if they belong to this country or they are misfit, this is bound to affect them. We when UPA government in power provided for scholarship scheme. But that scholarship scheme is lying under the carpet this too has an impact. What is more important is that the government is run on the trust, the belief. The mistrust which is on this government, on the UPA government, Sir, I cannot say that Kashmiris had full trust when Congress was in government.
I don’t have any illusion about it. But somewhere in some corners the trust was there, belief was there which is missing today. Sir, in this House Hon’ble ‘Leader of the House’ what present.
Last year in the month of February or in the first week of March during the debate after the Presidential address, Hon’ble Prime Minister was present. Mufti Saheb was alive that time that time the talk with the BJP was going on. After ten days of that debate, the government was formed. I had said that do not commit that mistake. We took 70 years in winning the trust and confidence of the people and are still struggling, why are you trying to form the government, you will need 200 years in winning that kind of trust. So do not form the government. But you did it because you thought that Ghulam Nabi would have been interested, if we do not become the CM, Ghulam Nabi would become the chief minister. He had assured that we are not to become it. But you don’t do it because the BJP need centuries in making its acceptability in the valley. Sir this too was a big reason.
When we were child, we used to see in the village, there was poverty. Today if you see the old film, you will see the same thing. In old times, when people were poor, they used be very poor and if they used to wear cotton cloth and if it was white and torn, they used to get it patched up with white stitches. The poor people who did not have proper sense used to get the patch stitches in other colours like black on white or red talli which could be spotted from wide distance. We have seen in many films when many Sadhus are walking, begging, but their clothes patched up in contrast colour. This is your government whose colour was white and you used black or red patches which are totally mismatch. It is starkly noticeable to everyone that it is a misfit. If a little whitish colour is used then it’s alright but if the difference is 19 to 2000 how can it fit into it. Lava does not occur in a day it is a contributory factor. The wave is not created in the ocean suddenly, such fires are not cloak. It’s not easy to set water on fire; unless there is a possessiveness nothing of this sort can ever take place. To break the water there is water in the midst that is lava, which was gathering.
This situation has been reached because of the maltreatment given to Kashmiris, the statements which were made at the national level, the talk of demographic change that used to happen from time to time.
I have no problem with the Home Minister, nor do I have any ill-feeling for Leader of the House. Alas! It would have been better had you made statement yourself but how many members are there in your families, and parties, the relatives of relative, now who gives incendiary remarks, who is firing missiles and making Kashmir potentially volatile. Kashmir is a sensitive state, it’s a border state. Speak with restraint. We have been honouring these sentiments for the last 47 years respecting it incessantly; we are struggling while walking ahead of them. We are trying to bring all of them in the mainstream of the national life, if someone says that we will foist the flag tomorrow itself and we will consolidate the BJP and the RSS in Kashmir, let me tell you all that the consequences would be disastrous.
I know both the Home Minister and our Leader of the House know Kashmir very well. Both of them are J&K’s Jamai (Sonin-Law) so they can understand my sentiments very well. Kashmiris are very sharp-minded and shot-tempered. But it does not mean that they will take the guns and start shooting and make Kahmir. They possess immeasurable love, Let one learn love and compassion from them. Forgive me, they don’t love the guns. Perhaps your friend showed them the wrong path. I am not saying it today; people say that much of the force was used. Hon’ble Home Minister, and finance minister and the leader of the house, you convened a cabinet meeting. Your Cabinet includes the chief ministers and your ministers. After three days of the meeting a minister called in a press conference and told that the cabinet had come to the conclusion that ‘disproportionate use of the force.’ It means, the government used the force more that it should have used. Now this is your government that is accepting it. What should I say then? What is the reason that disproportionate use of force is not applied elsewhere? What is the reason that so much force was used against children, youth, old men and women? This is the reason why the situation has gone back to pre-90’s stage.
A lot of time will be required; perhaps it may take 26 years. I pray to Allah that normalcy is restored to the valley, not through my statements. The situation at the ground level is grim. Just imagine that there is a curfew for the last ten days and people are alive without eating anything. Vegetables are not to be found, so is the mutton, milk is conspicuous by absence but people despite all this are ready to live under curfew.
But the moment curfew is slackened people walk out of the house. Usually, if there is a curfew for a day people’s response is cold even after the curfew is withdrawn. But this is not the case here. Despite the ten days’ curfew, no semblance of normal life is to be found. Why is it so? The message is clear: The wound is deep, the horror of trauma is so debilitating that normal medicine is of no use, the responsibility lies with you. We are with you. We don’t want to leave you alone. We are not going to take undue advantage of the situation. I remember when I had to tender my resignation as CM the people instead of supporting, be it your party or others all added fuel to the fire against me, but my party and me are not of that kind. Our seniors, Ambika Soniji and former ministers who have just left told the press, said the same thing. I make frequent telephone calls to our presidents, MLAs and others telling them to cooperate because we have to retrieve the situation first. We don’t have to exacerbate the situation thinking that it the PDP-BJP government ruling the state so let Kashmir burn. We never want the valley to burn in fire. We want Kashmir to return to the situation where we had left it. It becomes once again the favourite destination of tourists as it was known for. Do you know how many aircrafts used to fly to Srinagar? 40 planes used to make rounds of the Kashmir valley every day, you can easily understand how normal, receptive and tourism-conducive Kashmir that it was still a month back.
I feel glorified that despite all these disturbances journeys are being undertaken as usual. I congratulate our Muslim brothers who did not allow to paint in communal colours, but our home minister must be knowing it that when an accident of the bus carrying Amaranth yatris met with an accident it was Muslim brothers who ran for rescue and took the patients to hospitals, got them treated, I saw it all on the TV and was filled with the emotion by the fight between two Kashmiris- one was saying that he would donate the blood and another was arguing no, I will do that. In such a situation when curfew is imposed, two Kashmiri youths were fighting over who would take the injured to the hospital, who will donate blood to Hindu bhais who were from Meerut?
I was watching when a Kashmiri youth was killed the local people violated the curfew and took out the dead bodies for the final rites. I mean to say, curfew is not violated only for pelting stones, rather three days back curfew was violated because there was a Kashmiri pandit in the Model town area and an old man was lying dead. The curfew was violated, because the dead body had to be consigned to fire. Curfew was broken for the funeral pyre of a Kashmiri Pandit. This only the Kashmiri can do. If they can do such kind of humanity do they not deserve to be treated with dignity.
Hon’ble Home Minister ji it will be my last request to you that the people, who are involved in vitiating the situation in Kashmir- sir I am talking about the TV. I am in favour of the freedom of press. Today there is no freedom of press in Kashmir. The papers are closed, Internet service is disrupted, TV is closed down. I am not in favour all this. Press should be free, but it does not mean that it should be used for the destruction of the country, it should not be allowed to act as a virus. Today when you watch the debate going on, on TV I am not talking about any particular channel, channels are vying with each other. Earlier, we used to wait for the news being telecasted between 8 and 9 pm. Now, there are news, the prime time news, prime time, post prime time, I have no idea how many are the prime times? On those prime time discussion the debate fuels the communal hatred. Four Mullas from Muslims, four Pandits from Hindus, and fourfive from the RSS, some from other organization which are Muslim fundamentalists are picked up and they are allowed to fight through heated arguments. If it is so I want to congratulate the Hindus and Muslims that despite all this they retain restraint.
Otherwise if they are allowed to carry swords they would kill half of Indians. There must be a limit to control the media. They don’t honour any limit. All these factors contribute to flare up in Kashmir. I am not in favour of the theory given by Zakir Naik, nor do I watch the debate and discussion regarding what he says on TV. You said there will be an enquiry. You inquire, but you also inquired those people who declare to reward money for murdering people. Uski gardan lao or 50 lakh pao (bring the head chopped off the body and get 50 lakh). What kind of enquiry is this? This way Kashmir is born, its here where we felt to give justice. Conduct the enquiry against the Zakir Naik. If he spread terrorism, punishing, but if a party or someone who has similar ideology to what Zakir Naik says than saying like bring Zakir Naik’s head and get 50 lakhs than he should not be sent to jail? The people giving such statements should not be sent to the jail? If the people like them are not sent to jail than the Kashmir like situation arises.
Hon’ble Home Minister! You bear the responsibility of 125 crore Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. Some people came from outside the country whom you drove back. Taslima Nasreen for writing against Muslims, against the Quran, she was driven by the Bangladesh government, we provided shelter to her on the humanitarian ground but what she is speaking in debate on TV now? The same petrol she brings sprinkles on herself. You must not have seen that programme but when that comes on a national channel that another person whom we have given shelter, who writes against Islam, speaks and we allow them to use our national channel to voice vitriolic version against Islam who should be held responsible? The accusation lies with the Central government.
Sir, similarly, there is Tarkeeh Fateh of Pakistan, who was driven out of the country, the way Nasreen was done for going against Islam and Quran. There is a Canadian national who came from nowhere and is now speaking against Zakir Naik. He continues to spit venom against Zakir Naik and Islami religious literature as well as Islam. There is one Yunus-al- Gauhar, there is another foreigner who does not find place anywhere he to indulges in tongue-lashing against the Quran. I will not give those abuses, I will show both of you. If you see them you will ask that these two should be caught and thrown out of this sub-continent. If he speaks on our channel who will bear the brunt of ignominy? All these acquisition will go to the Central government or your office-bearers, officers, they don’t watch those channels, they don’t have the control over those channels. My point is what is written in newspapers are very serious, the paper publishes anything with great caution, understanding, depth of the knowledge, but the issue of conducting debates in the night that has cropped up will lead us to destruction this is what I intend to convey. At last, I want to say that Pakistan is a nursery of producing contributory plants. I am of the opinion that Pakistan does have its existence, but its presence is the factory of communal viruses. If every disease has its root, it is rooted to Pakistan. The formation of Pakistan in 1947 is the mother of all diseases that India is suffering from. The mistrust between Hindu and Muslim and suspicion that majority community has towards minorities have all their origins in Pakistan. Pakistan took away one and half parts, let it rule the country the way it wants. I apologies to Pakistan to please leave us. We have democracy, we are able to fight with our brothers- to ask for our share, whether it’s in the
government, in Parliament or the employment. The Muslims of India do not need Pakistan’s support to live in peace in this
We are in our country with self confidence and self belief. They had chosen their country, our forefathers choose India. They must honour our country so that we could give respect to it, so I will like to tell Pakistan that those living in the houses of glasses don’t throw stones on others’ house. Today they are celebrating black-day, sometime on 19th, sometime on 20th. The way people are murdered on daily basis there if they celebrate black-day everyday still the number of days will fall short. They should devote their times in bettering their internal situation, rather than damaging our condition and fueling our tranquility. They must leave us for ourselves, we are capable enough to take care of ourselves. Hon’ble Home Minister so far as the situation prevailing in Kashmir is concerned, I demand keeping in view the situation of Kashmir, with full sympathy with them that an all party meeting should be called in. We should discuss certain issues that how far we should go, the guidelines should be framed what statement should be made in public on TV and outside it. Secondly, if there has been the use of excessive force in dealing with the situation in Kashmir the responsibility should be owned up, the charge for excesses should be fixed. No matter, in which part of the state it has taken place.
So far as the unity and integrity of the country is concerned, so far the question of ending the terrorism and terrorists from any part of the country is concerned, the country has one voice, no matter whatever be the religion, caste or region, the Congress will stand by you and our party as well as the country will also be there with you against the anti-India propaganda spread by Pakistan, but this kind of treatment with the Kashmiris is not at all acceptable to us. Thanks, thanks a lot. Jai Hind!