Indian minister Jaitley calls for all-party discussion on Kashmir issue

Policemen stand next to a burning handcart set on fire by demonstrators during a recent protest in Srinagar. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 11, 2016, 05.28 AM (IST)
India's Parliament discussed the ongoing unrest in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, August 10 as curfew continued for an unprecedented 33rd day in the Kashmir valley following the killing of a separatist militant.

Initiating the debate, lawmaker of opposition Congress party, Ghulam Nabi Azad asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a statement in the Parliament.

"We want this (Kashmir issue) to be sorted out. Everyone should sit together and find a solution. We all should sit together (to find a solution)," Azad said in the upper house of Parliament, Rajya Sabha.

Unrest has been brewing in Jammu and Kashmir since July 8, when security forces gunned down 22-year-old Burhan Wani, leader of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen- a group fighting Indian control of the Muslim-majority region.

Wani's killing has triggered the Valley's worst outbreak of violence in six years.
Fifty-eight people have been killed and more than 5,000 wounded, including Indian security personnel, in the month-long unrest. More than 300 people have suffered injuries because of pellet guns, including 171 with eye injuries, further fuelling the anger against the forces and the government.

Azad said that the Jammu and Kashmir government did not have the resource or manpower to tackle the problem and urged federal government to find a solution to the crisis.

The debate created ruckus in the House as opposition mounted attacks on the government.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tried to pacify the situation and said that political parties needed to set aside their differences and speak with one voice.

"Jammu and Kashmir is in a sensitive state, there is a need for all of us to speak in one voice. There have been many differences on various issues in the past but today is not the right time to divert the debate to some other direction," said Jaitley in Rajya Sabha.

Wani represented a new generation of fighters in a region where alienation runs deep even though attacks have fallen dramatically since the revolt broke out in 1989.

India has urged its security forces to act with restraint as they try to keep protesters off the streets and quell near-daily violence, but some have accused troops of using excessive force.