New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) Violence in the Kashmir Valley shows no signs of abating and is, in fact, being stoked by “talk of revenge” and “unrestrained public statements” from various actors, a citizen’s group said in a statement today.

The Concerned Citizens Group, including former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and former National Commission for Minorities chairperson Wajahat Habibullah, expressed deep anguish over the escalation in violence and said the solution to the present crisis lies in political dialogue.

“We note with deep anguish the recent escalation in violence in Kashmir. This has led to avoidable loss of civilian lives as well as that of security force personnel. What is worse is that the violence shows no signs of abating. In fact, it is being stoked further by unrestrained public statements by various actors and the talk of revenge,” the group said.

The statement was also signed by author Rajmohan Gandhi, former Delhi High Court chief justice A P Shah, former special secretary in the cabinet secretariat Vappala Balachandran, former air vice marshal Kapil Kak, former secretary in the ministry of external affairs K C Singh, senior journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushobha Barve of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

It was evident that despite being aware of the futility of picking up arms, an increasing number of desperate youngsters are joining the ranks of militants.

“At this critical juncture, when an entire generation of young Kashmiris finds itself at a cross-roads, we would like to urge everyone concerned to step back from the conflict,” they said.

While picking up arms by militants is bound to attract the use of force against them by the state, intensifying the confrontation can only worsen the situation, they said in the statement, “Escalating Violence in Jammu and Kashmir”.

“The solution to the present crisis in Jammu and Kashmir lies in dialogue at the appropriate political level. Only by winning the hearts and minds of the people can their faith in the political process be restored,” the group said.

As many as 60 incidents of terrorist violence have taken place in Jammu and Kashmir from January till mid-March this year, killing 15 security personnel and 17 terrorists, according to data provided to Parliament.

Last week, an officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Police was badly injured in a stone-pelting incident in Srinagar.

Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh recently opposed any dialogue with separatists who “stay silent when innocent people are killed and give a call for strike when terrorists are eliminated”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.