New Delhi, 18 July 2016: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has expressed deep anguish over the sporadic violence continuing in the Kashmir Valley for over a week. This has resulted in over three dozen deaths and hundreds of innocent youth having been maimed due to excessive force used by the security forces to control the upsurge following the gunning down of a Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.

SDPI national spokesperson Elyas Thumbe in a statement said that Kashmir imbroglio was never a law and order issue but a political problem which needs a political solution. There were many factors, including the alleged RSS and BJP plans of enforcing demographic changes that contributed to the current turmoil in the Kashmir Valley. A problem of good or bad governance, of economic incentives, jobs, etc.

Thumbe said that the problem in Kashmir has escalated due to extra power given to the Army by way of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, (AFSPA). Wani’s killing and the deaths of about 40 protesters have shown yet again that high-handed action is not the solution to the unrest in Kashmir. More power will only take Kashmir to the point of no return to India. There is little doubt that if the situation is not quickly brought under control, there could be widespread disquiet about the frenzied protests in the Valley. And if Army is to be given free hand in Kashmir, then why not a free hand to the Army in situations like Jat stir and Patel stir, he questioned.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court’s criticism over the immunity provided to the security forces by the draconian law AFSPA even in “war-like” situations, suggests the government has to be far more restrained in trouble-prone areas. The governments at the state and Centre must also take serious note about the news of the prevailing unwarranted situation in the Valley which has reached the corridors of the UN Security Council members underlining that the upsurge was not India’s “internal affair”. This may tarnish India’s image internationally.

He questioned some section of media’s role in the ongoing Kashmir turmoil, as it is seemingly echoing the current establishment and talking like a BJP-RSS spokesperson. This kind of reporting and the channels responsible for should be legally punished for unprofessionalism.

Thumbe urged the government to include all parties of Kashmiris into dialogue. You cannot label all Kashmiris as terrorists, as it is a cunning way meant to deceive people. Kashmir’s fate should not be determined in Nagpur as the fates of Nagpur or Gujarat are not decided in Srinagar.