Following persistent demand by the Opposition, on Wednesday the Rajya Sabha took up for discussion the unrest in Kashmir which has been ongoing for 32 days.
"The crown of India [Kashmir] is burning. You must have felt the heat on your head, if not the heart," Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, addressing the House.
Azad questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's absence from the House during the debate on such a sensitive and vital issue.
"The Prime Minister is so close, yet so far. He comes to the complex everyday at 10:00 AM. His room is barely a minute from both the Houses... Earlier PMs would rush to the House if there was a pressing discussion on any issue, but this Prime Minister has not attended," Azad said, according to The Indian Express.
He also added that while the PM tweeted about "everything", he didn't say "anything about Kashmir".
Later, however, Azad went on to say that his party did not want to accuse the government and was ready to help control the crisis in Kashmir.
"The law and order is not the sole responsibility of the Kashmir Police. The paramilitary forces are also involved. You call Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India, but there needs to be integration of hearts between the people of India and Jammu and Kashmir," Azad said.
The senior Congress leader thanked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on behalf of the Opposition for allowing discussion on Kashmir issue in the Parliament.
Pointing out that there is a difference between communalism and separatism, Azad said the militants do not have any religion, be they from Punjab or Kashmir.
"There is murder of humanity and democracy in Kashmir. 'Kashmiriyat' and 'Insaniyat' are murdered by pellet guns. We all should jointly take out a solution for this. Everyone in Kashmir is a victim of militancy. Many of us have lost their near and dear ones due to this militancy in Kashmir," he added.
Azad also said that PM Modi would have made the statement on Kashmir from the Parliament and not from Madhya Pradesh, had there been real "integration".
Adding that the former UPA regime had initiated many confidence building measures, Azad said that the Parliament must appeal to the people for peace in Kashmir.
"Jammu and Kashmir has a curfew, many people have been injured. Civilians have faced losses. And as Parliament is on, we all need to share their pain," he said.
"There should be an all-party delegation and a meeting that needs to be sent to Jammu and Kashmir. It should be announced during the Parliament," Azad added.
More than 55 people have died and over 6,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on 8 July 2016.
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