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Ashamed by targeted killings of civilians in Kashmir: Sajad Lone

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Says LG administration lives on ‘another planet’; demands immediate restoration of statehood, holding of elections

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference chairman, Sajad Gani Lone has said that he is ashamed by the targeted killings of civilians in the Valley and also scared about what more might happen.

Sajad Lone, in an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire said he feels the worst is not over.

Lone also said the people of the rest of India have turned their back and let down the Kashmiri people.

He said that it is the people of India who can make the central government to change its policy of handling Kashmir but ‘they have gone to sleep.’

“When the Kashmiri people needed the support of their fellow citizens south of the Banihal line, they have, instead, been let down by them.”

Speaking about Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration, Lone said, ‘it’s on another planet’.

He said the incumbent administration does not understand the Kashmiri people and in many instances it has brought in officials and police officers from outside the state who may be very good people but do not understand the situation and do not have a connection with the Kashmiri people.

Describing the mass arrests, following the civilian killings as “randomized response’, he said the arrests of 700 or 800 is not an answer or a solution to the problem.

“This can only embitter and alienate the people because many who are innocent will be wrongly picked up,” he insisted.

Commenting on whether the situation was slipping back to 90s when Kashmiri Pandit exodus took place, Lone said that 90s never ended.

“What happened in the ’90s has, in one shape or form, continued thereafter for several decades and it’s only the intensity that has differed. Secondly, there are very few Kashmiri Pandits left in the Valley. You will not have a mass migration as you did in the ’90s. A few will leave and they will return when things improve.”

Commenting about the migrant workers leaving Kashmir, Lone said they are critical to the functioning of the Kashmiri economy.

He said that winter being ‘no-work-season’ in Kashmir, these workers would normally leave by the end of November and return once winter was over.

“This time some of them are leaving earlier. Hope they come back once the new work season picks up,” he said.

Speaking about the majority community in Kashmir i.e., Muslim population, Lone said they were “pained” and “angry” at what was happening.

He also said that there was a pall of fear that has spread through the Valley and everyone is worried or scared about what could happen.

Lone said that the last 20 days have proven that the claim made by the administration, both in Delhi and Srinagar, that the situation in Kashmir is normal is just rhetoric as the truth is very different.

He also said that statehood should be restored soon, followed immediately by fresh elections.

“Those who are ruling today, have no stakes in Kashmir. Kashmiris deserve to run their affairs, it is their future that is at stake. They are ones who know this place and they should be allowed to make decisions to better the situation here,” Lone said.

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