Don’t target common people: Karan Singh

Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu, Feb 20: Amid rising tension with Pakis-tan in the wake of Pulwama attack, veteran Con-gress leader Karan Singh today cautioned that it seemed the country was moving towards “yet another conflagration” which could have “incalculable consequences”.
Singh also rued that there has unfortunately been a “strong anti-Kashmiri backlash” around the country in the aftermath of the February 14 terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district that left over 40 personnel dead.
“Having lived through all the Indo-Pakistan wars from 1947 through 1965 (J&K), 1971 (Bangladesh) and 1999 (Kargil), it seems that we are moving towards yet another conflagration which could have incalculable consequences,” the 87-year-old leader said in a statement.
“While the heinous murder of 44 of our brave jawans is a matter of great regret and deep anger, I would urge that with enhanced technological capabilities on both sides, we should also seriously consider other modalities of retaliation/retribution from the diplomatic, commercial and economic dimensions,” he said.
“The fact that the terrorist organization that immediately claimed responsibility for the attack is based and nurtured in Pakistan, where its leaders are free to roam around the country and issue dire threats to India, should be more than enough proof for Prime Minister Imran Khan to accept the ground reality and take decisive action against such organization if his ‘Naya Pakistan’ sincerely seeks peace and detente with India. Such action would help to defuse the present crisis,” Dr Karan Singh said.
Meanwhile, he said, there has unfortunately been a strong anti-Kashmiri backlash around the country, with high dignitories going to the extent of advocating boycott of Kashmiris and Kashmiri goods.
“If we consider the State of Jammu & Kashmir, which my ancestors founded and for which my father signed the Instrument of Accession, to be an integral part of India we cannot at the same time act in a discriminatory manner against the common people of Kashmir, nor are we in any way justified in targeting Kashmiri students studying in various parts of the country, Dr Singh said.
Keeping all these factors in mind, he said he would advise a high level of statesmanship from all concerned at this crucial juncture.
“Our party president Rahul Gandhi has already made it clear that we stand with the Government and the armed forces, but yet I feel impelled to make this statement in my personal capacity as, if I may use the term, an “elder statesman”, Dr Karan Singh said.