Speaking out against the Centre’s move to reduce central forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP said on Tuesday that no such decision should be taken without an all-party delegation reviewing the ground situation there.
Obliquely defending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)—which gives central forces sweeping powers in the state and in the northeast—the party said the all-party delegation should take a call on it.
The issue is likely to be taken up in Parliament after the budget debate gets over. The message: Kashmir is too sensitive an issue for a unilateral government decision. The party also wants to paint the Centre as “soft on terror” and also accuse the Center of allowing militants to malign the system - of which the army and central forces are part - in the state.
This comes at a time when Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah have been discussing phased withdrawal of central forces and AFSPA.
Chidambaram had recently said that central forces should play a secondary role to the state police in Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP discussed this issue at its parliamentary party meeting after the Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch —an organisation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits—made a presentation on this.