BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday quoted the Prime Minister’s media adviser, Harish Khare, to attack the Congress’s handling of the Kashmir issue since Independence.
“Someone said recently that the Congress was an election-winning machinery devoid of ideology and action. This is true of Kashmir,” the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said at seminar on Kashmir here.
“Initially, under Sheikh Abdullah’s influence they gave separate status. Then they put the Sheikh in jail in 1953. In 1974-75, they again reached an understanding with the Sheikh. In 1986, they removed Farooq Abdullah and entered into an understanding with G.M. Shah. Last time, they went with the PDP and this time the National Conference. Do they have a national vision on Kashmir or are they just an election winning-machinery?”
Defending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Jaitley said it applied not just to the army — which was posted at the Line of Control and in villages, not in towns witnessing mass unrest — but also the CRPF, which was actually facing the protesters. “Will CRPF officers fight cases for taking action against separatist violence?” he asked. “If yes, they may go back to their barracks and then the Congress Seva Dal will not come to defend the nation.”
However, Jaitley added one nuance: separatists and commoners needed to be differentiated. The former needed tough action, and the latter should not be harassed to prevent them from falling to separatists.