Shortly after Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced a special package for Kashmir, the BJP qualified its support for the initiative. It backed moves to reach out to common citizens to end their harassment, but said no to concessions to the separatists.
"...To the extent the government's approach is anti-separatist and pro-citizen, we will welcome it; any dilution of this position won't find support from the BJP," a party release said.
The BJP's response underscored the role played by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely, who was involved in parleys with Chidambaram after the all-party delegation returned from J&K this week.
Jaitley and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, both members of the all-party delegation, told Chidambaram that the governance needed to perk up as clamour for azadi linked to mainline political parties was losing appeal owing to their inconsistencies and lack of governance.
"Instead of reaching out to the separatists, the government must reach out to average citizens of the Valley and prevent their harassment. If any such steps are taken which are citizen-friendly, the same would be supported by the party," the BJP release said.
The party added grievances of other regions of the state — Ladakh and Jammu regions — should be heard and the people of these areas should not be discriminated "merely because they are strong nationalists and do not foment trouble."
The BJP made it clear that it will "not accept any dilution of the provisions of the AFSPA".