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Kashmir violence being stoked by ‘talk of revenge’, says Yashwant Sinha-led Concerned Citizens’ Group

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newdehli:-Expressing deep anguish over the recent escalation of violence in Kashmir, a citizen’s group on Tuesday stated that the violence in the Valley is showing no signs of abating and is, in fact, being stoked by “talk of revenge” and “unrestrained public statements” from various actors.
The Concerned Citizens Group, including former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and former National Commission for Minorities chairperson Wajahat Habibullah, said the solution to the present crisis lies in political dialogue.
“We note with deep anguish the recent escalation in violence in Kashmir. This has led to avoidable loss of civilian lives as well as that of security force personnel. What is worse is that the violence shows no signs of abating. In fact, it is being stoked further by unrestrained public statements by various actors and the talk of revenge,” the group said.
Despite being aware of the futility of picking up arms, the group said, an increasing number of desperate youngsters are joining the ranks of militants. “At this critical juncture, when an entire generation of young Kashmiris finds itself at a cross-roads, we would like to urge everyone concerned to step back from the conflict,” they said.
The statement was also signed by author Rajmohan Gandhi, former Delhi High Court chief justice A P Shah, former special secretary in the cabinet secretariat Vappala Balachandran, former air vice marshal Kapil Kak, former secretary in the ministry of external affairs K C Singh, senior journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.
“While picking up arms by the militants is bound to attract the use of force against them by the State, intensifying the confrontation can only worsen the situation. The solution to the present crisis in J&K lies in dialogue at the appropriate political level. Only by winning the hearts and minds of the people can their faith in the political process be restored,” the group concluded.
Close to 60 incidents of militant violence have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir from January till mid-March this year, killing 15 security personnel and 17 terrorists, according to data provided to Parliament.
The Valley witnessed complete shutdown against the killing of 17 people, including 13 militants, who were killed in three separate encounters in South Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian districts earlier this month. More than 20 people were injured in fresh clashes in different parts of South Kashmir. Shops and other business establishments were closed and vehicles remained off the roads. To prevent law and order situation additional troopers in riot gear were deployed at sensitive places across Kashmir especially in South Kashmir.

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