A question was raised at the Lok Sabha on Wednesday regarding the number of bilateral and multilateral events attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where terrorism was on the agenda.
The newly-inducted Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar fielded the question with diplomatic zeal, however, his statement, "Most of the individuals on the wanted list for terrorism-related offences are in Pakistan with whom the matter has been and is consistently taken up," holds significance especially after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday claimed that the arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Bahadur Ali was trained by military experts in Pakistan.
With a confessional video of a captured LeT militant Bahadur Ali, Inspector General of NIA Sanjeev Singh said that since the summer this year, the banned outfit, with the "help of Pakistani forces deployed on the border", pushed heavily armed terrorists into India with the direction to mix with the local people, create disturbance, and attack police and security forces.
Ali, who was arrested on 25 July this year from Yahama village in Handwara in north Kashmir, revealed in the video about LeT's communication network and assistance it got from the Pakistan Army. The NIA is also investigating the role of LeT in the ongoing turbulence in the Kashmir Valley that started after the encounter of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who finally broke his silence on the Kashmir issue on 9 August, had steered clearing of making a statement against Pakistan and said, "Some people are causing Kashmir a lot of harm. Kashmir wants peace. Whatever Kashmiris want for betterment of their livelihood, the Centre will provide."
Curfew continued for the 34th day on Thursday, after Wani's death fueled widespread protests in the Valley. Even since, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been needling India with provocative statements like, "Kashmir is not India's internal matter", "it is an obligation for me as Prime Minister of Pakistan to become the voice of oppressed Kashmiris," he even went ahead offered medical assistance to those injured in the violence in Kashmir.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on the other hand, has been more confrontational on his stand on Pakistan's role in Kashmir. During a Parliament session on Wednesday Singh said, "Two weeks ago, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said that he is waiting for the day when Kashmir will become Pakistan's. He has also written a letter to the UN Secretary General saying there should be a plebiscite in Kashmir. On the basis of the statements made in the House, I can say that no power in the world can take Jammu and Kashmir from us. If there is dialogue with Pakistan, it won't be on Kashmir, it will be on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir." Singh also said he is ready to hold talks with political parties and moderate groups in Kashmir.
Though the Prime Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti invoked former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's model of insaniyat and jamooriyat (humanity and democracy), dialogue between Delhi and Islamabad on Kashmir has been largely of the rhetorical kind.
Kashmir dominated the discussion in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with the Opposition demanding a meeting. While Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a statement from Modi in Parliament, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said, "Burhan Wani is more dangerous dead than alive." CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury asked what's stopping the Centre from initiating a political dialogue.
During his address to the US Congress in June, Modi had said, "Although its shadow is spreading across the world, terrorism is incubated in India’s neighbourhood. Humanity must speak in one voice. Terrorism must be delegitimised." However, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby had issued a statement that though US is concerned about the violence in Kashmir, it is a "matter for the Government of India to speak to specifically".
Meanwhile, the call for 'azadi' has been growing stronger in Kashmir, it will take a lot more than soothing dialogues to silence the voice of dissent that has risen battling pellet guns and state excesses.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 11, 2016 14:48 PM