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Centre must distinct between civilians and Kashmiri separatists: Sonia Gandhi


New Delhi: Asserting that the soaring incidents of violence between locals and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir posed a challenge to the nation, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday called on the Centre to not obliterate the distinction between the civilian population and the terrorists and separatists.

Addressing the cadres in the Congress Parliamentary Party Meet, Gandhi said, “Militants must be dealt with firmly yet we must introspect and ask ourselves what has driven scores of young people to such levels of anger and protest, even violence. Can we say in all honesty that we have responded with sincerity to their pleas’. They are our people, we cannot forsake them.”

Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the media here that Gandhi warned the government to maintain the fundamental distinction between terrorists and separatists and the civilian population

“The government must train itself to the utmost to ensure that the distinction is not obliterated,” Singhvi said quoting Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the death toll of civilians kept ticking in the Valley as the number stands at 42 now with almost 3000 people including security forces injured.

The death toll climbed to 42 after a woman who had sustained grievous injuries at Qazigund on Monday succumbed in hospital early morning yesterday.

However, the Indian Army yesterday expressed regret over the death of civilians in Qazigund and ordered a probe in the matter.

Expressing grief over the loss of life and injuries sustained by the protesters, the Army appealed to the people of the Valley to maintain peace and refrain from attacking security forces or their vehicles or establishments, thus creating situations where they are left with no option but to retaliate in self defence.

The incidents of violence continue to crop up despite the Centre and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urging the people to maintain calm and cooperate with the state government to restore peace in the valley.

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