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JAMMU: In a press statement issued here today by Bharatiya Janata Party, its State Spokesperson, Brig Anil Gupta has castigated veteran Congress leader Saif-ud-Din Soz for criticising the effort of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach to the Kashmiri youth and asking them to return to mainstream rather than appreciating it. “Time has come when the Kashmiri leaders should stop blaming everybody else except themselves for the turmoil in Kashmir. It is time to look within and catch the bull by horn.

There is nothing known as “Kashmir Problem”, the fact is that there are multifarious problems in Kashmir, all of them “manufactured” by the Kashmiri power brokers who have always kept self-interest above the interests of the Awam”, lamented Brig Gupta. Questioning further, Brig Gupta asked, “What efforts have been made by the people like Soz or those of his ilk to reach out to a broad cross-section of youth to address their problems and illusions which mainly are the result of false hopes and promises made to them by the separatists as well as the mainstream politicians? Why don’t they appeal to them to shun violence and join the mainstream for a better future?”

Unfortunately, rather than trying to assist in the effort of the state and central government to restore peace in Kashmir, Congress leadership in Kashmir is behaving like the B team of the Hurriyat. By advocating “dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan at all costs”, Congress including its central leadership has exposed itself as pro-Pakistan, blamed Brig Gupta. “Pakistan army continues to target innocent civilians on the international border (IB)/ line of control (LOC), it is unwilling to relent on its support for terrorism. The Hurriyat leaders continue to act at the behest of Pakistan playing with the lives of innocent Kashmiris. Yet these leaders blame the central government for its unwillingness to hold talks with Pakistan/Hurriyat. Nothing can be more hypocritical than this attitude of the Congress leadership,” rued the spokesperson.

 The majority of Kashmiri youth today is bewildered and confused because despite the hardships and killings witnessed by them the “Azadi” or “Greater Autonomy” or “Self-Rule” is nowhere on the horizon as promised to them by their leaders. Instead, the leaders have become “richer and more powerful at their cost” blames the Kashmiri youth, a reality these leaders need to understand and face rather than blaming Prime Minister Modi, said Brig Gupta.

It is conveniently forgotten that radicalisation is the main cause for disenchantment among the Kashmiri youth. Their interest in ‘Azadi’ or ‘autonomy’ is fast waning. Yet, the power brokers in Kashmir continue to misguide and mislead the youth rather than making an effort to motivate them to discard the option of “gun” and look for a brighter future by joining the Indian growth story and by seeking business and employment opportunities across the country. Rest of India will welcome them with open arms if they shun violence. “Rather than refusing to acknowledge the presence of elephant in the room, Soz& Co should concentrate on changing the narrative from stone-throwing, violence and conflict to economic development, modern value based education and peace what Soz has referred to as “Modi’s narrative,” advised Brig Gupta.