New Delhi: A number of political parties, including the Left, on Tuesday demanded an "honest" dialogue with all sections of the society in Jammu and Kashmir to restore normalcy in the state.
The parties also demand withdrawal of security forces from the state, repeal of the "draconian" provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and generation of employment opportunities among other things.
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, his CPI counterpart A B Bardhan and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan among others were of the view that the Army has become the "face of Indian state" for Kashmiris and this has to be changed.
"Everybody feels proud when we showcase our military, their weapons at the Republic Day parade. We tell the world this is our strength. We are giving a signal to the world that don`t mess with us.
"But how will you feel if the same Army with all those weapons and tanks start a parade in front of your house, your village everyday the whole year. You won`t find it interesting if the Army conducts flag march in your village every day," Bardhan said.
Demanding withdrawal of military forces from the state and revocation of AFSPA, the CPI leader said bullets and tanks were for enemies but it is now used for targetting "our own people".
"Kashmir has been called the heaven on earth. But now it has turned hellish and the responsibility squarely rests at the government`s doorsteps," he said, adding that no one can question the patriotism of Kashmiris as it was the community which defended the country when Pakistan invaded the state.
"You put the Shere-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah) in a cage (jail). Mistrust evolved. Then you sent the Army to every village. Due to this, there evolved a sentiment for freedom...You have the tongue to speak then why respond with bullets," he said.
The seminar organised by Committee for Promoting Dialogue with Jammu and Kashmir was also participated by Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc), Abani Roy (RSP), Shahid Siddique (RLD), Danish Ali (JD-S) and Namo Nageshwar Rao (TDP).
Addressing the gathering, CPI-M leader Karat said the Kashmir issue needs to be solved "politically" as there was a "denial of democracy and autonomy" in the state.
"Several promises were made but all of them were broken," he said.
Calling for a dialogue for a political solution to the Kashmir crisis, Karat said the protesters in the valley should not be dealt the same way the terrorists were dealt with.
"Kashmir issue cannot be resolved unless you involve Kashmiris and till you ignore them, you will not be able to solve it," he said.