The tense, chaotic, violent suffering of the people of Kashmir rang out in Parliament on Monday. The reconvened session started off with a moving speech by Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of Opposition in the House. Azad, the former chief minister of the state and a Kashmiri himself, spoke about the Centre mishandling the events in Kashmir.
The Congress seemed to be blaming PDP-BJP coalition for escalation of violence and the civilian casualties. The discussion also veered off to the questions of identity, communal politics, of competing vote bank politics and inevitably then to Pakistan.
Later in the day, Rajnath Singh warned Pakistan to stop exporting terror through policy.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded to Azad and countered him on the political part of his speech where Azad had blamed the PDP-BJP coalition govt of trying to use a hard approach. In fact looking to the “so called” unholy” alliance to relate it to the increased frequency of backlashes on the streets of Kashmir, Arun Jaitley defied this branding pointing out to the failures of Azad’s own govt and previous National Conference in dealing with similar scenarios in the past, most notably 2008 and 2010.
There were other leaders like Sitaram Yechury of CPM who also spoke and urged the govt to call for an all party meeting to form a consensus approach to the problem. Political speeches condemning Pakistan for its role in fueling the agitation and other insidious designs vis-a-vis Kashmir were repeated on Monday by the NDA govt.
There were also condolences for the civilians killed in police firing. Condolences that were much needed were paid for innocent women, men and children including teenagers who were killed and the loss that they faced.
The question is naming and shaming Pakistan is not going to be enough. What’s the play here? What idea does the govt have in stopping Pakistan in being successful again and again in disturbing peace in the valley and the country at large? We will speak to guests tonight about the challenges that lie ahead. The challenge for me will be to make sure that our panel tonight talks with each other. Not over each other.