Pune, Aug 1: Former Union home minister and Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde today hit out at the Narendra Modi government over its handling of the situation in Kashmir, saying it is only interested in "publicity".
Referring to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in the Kashmir Valley, Shinde said "If any militant is killed, why there is a need to make it public that he was a militant. See what has happened after the incident, 47 innocent people have lost their lives unnecessarily".
"While handing executions of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab, the previous Congress-led UPA government had maintained secrecy. However, the present government likes to believe in publicity.
See, what happened due to the publicity after the execution of (1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict) Yakub Memon as over 50,000 people had gathered for his funeral after his body was taken to Mumbai (from Nagpur)," Shinde said.
On solution to the situation in Kashmir where normal life remained paralysed for the 24th consecutive day, he said, "the Centre should have a dialogue with newspapers in Valley and people of Kashmir".
"During our (UPA) government, we emphasised on talks and even kept the separatist leaders in control. However, along with dialogue and cordial relations, we should be tight and alert when it comes to the sovereignty of the nation," Shinde told reporters here.
On the use of pellet guns by paramilitary forces, he said its use was going on for a long time. "I do not know what the present government (at the Centre) is going to do about it, but during our time, we used rubber bullets.
But one thing, there should be a fear in the minds of infiltrators and militants," Shinde said. He said the paramilitary forces are being criticised unnecessarily as they are doing their duty.
"During our regime, we had executed Mohammad Afzal Guru for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack. Since Afzal was from Kashmir, anticipating sharp reaction after his execution, we had already alerted the paramilitary forces and police in advance and stepped up security in the Valley.
"If you see the then press coverage after the execution (of Guru), there were sporadic incidents of stone pelting in some places for two days and thereafter normalcy prevailed and there were no major incidents of law and order," he claimed.
Shinde also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being silent on various issues including atrocities against the Dalit community. "Prime Minister should speak on these issues and all these cruelties are happening in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat," he added.