Observing that a “new situation” has emerged in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday described the recent unrest in the state as “painful” and appealed to all “disatisfied” sections to give peace a chance so that their future could be built.
She said the government was keen on a “meaningful political dialogue” with all political parties and regions of the state for which the interlocutors have been appointed.
“We are faced with a new situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The events of the last few months were painful,” Ms. Gandhi said addressing the AICC session here.
Ms. Gandhi expressed anguish at the loss of young lives in Kashmir. “I share their grief. Their loss is national loss. The whole generation has seen nothing but violence and conflict,” she said.
She urged all those who are “dissatisfied” in Jammu and Kashmir with the government to trust the government and “give peace a chance and enable us to build future for the next generation“.
She said priority should be given to development of the state.
During her inaugural speech at the AICC meet where she was authorised to nominate entire Congress Working Group, Ms. Gandhi talked about a range of issues like naxalism, price rise, Ayodhya judgement, Mumbai terror attack.
She, however, skirted the raging scandals related to Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society and Commonwealth Games.
In the Adarsh Society scam, Congress-led government, including Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, are facing allegations of irregularities.
In the CWG games scandal, Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi is also facing charges of corruption.
Talking about the September 30 Allahabad High Court verdict on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, Ms. Gandhi said it in “no way condones” the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6,1992.
The demolition was a “shameful, criminal act” and “all those responsible must be brought to justice,” she said.
The Congress president said her party and the governments led by her party will “forceful” resist attempts by anyone to abuse religion for political gains.
On terrorism, she said the threat is “for real and we will never relax our vigil against terrorism”.
She said it was “crystal clear” as to who was behind the attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai.
Naxalism, price rise
Touching upon the issue of naxalism, she said while firm police action is necessary, there was a need for greater emphasis on socio-economic development.
With regard to inflation, Ms. Gandhi said food prices have come down but there was a “need to bring these down further“.
In this context, she said states are as much responsible for this as the Centre.
She also said the Congress was committed to bring the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha soon.