New Delhi: Weighing in on the sensitive situation in Kashmir which has resulted in the death of 39 civilians, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday exclaimed in the Rajya Sabha that the government should not treat Kashmiri civilians like militants.

The Congress leader was bemused when he talked about the situation in Kashmir and the imposition of curfew in the Valley. “There used to be upheavals in 2008, 2010, but the current situation in Kashmir is much worse,” said Azad. He proclaimed that during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he was equally strict with the militants, but treated the people of Jammu and Kashmir much “more gently”.

“Should we kill civilians like we kill militants? Should we use the same bullets we use against militants on civilians?” said Azad, who expressed regret for the Army’s behaviour towards civilians in the Valley. Azad stressed that government should treat civilians like one would a child.

In a veiled attack to many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, Azad said that different statements had contributed towards the situation in the valley. Sadhvi Prachi Thakur’s bounty of Rs 50 lakhs on Zakir Naik’s head was also discussed by Azad, who exclaimed that the govt had remained inactive in the case.

“BJP cannot establish its government so readily in Kashmir,” said Azad. “There is mistrust against the BJP government, and it will take a long time for it to disappear.”

In closing, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Congress was with the government to terminate militants as long as civilians were not unjustly hurt in the process.

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