Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said on Saturday Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) was not in place in Jammu and Kashmir and some parts of the northeast “out of fun”, days after J-K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded the withdrawal of the controversial law from “some areas”.
Ahead of the April bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats in the state, Mufti pitched for the revocation of Afspa, saying she required a “window of peace” for ensuring good governance to “shrink the space” occupied by militants during a seminar in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“They are there because there is some necessity for such laws. When such necessity ceases by the efforts of the state governments, such laws shall also cease automatically. The state governments, therefore, should create such conditions that these laws should go (away),” Madhav, who had re-stitched PDP-BJP alliance after the death of the then chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, told reporters.
He was replying to a question about the rise in terror activities in the state vis-a-vis CM’s demand of withdrawing Afspa from some areas of the militancy-hit state. In the wake of a spike in terror activities, security scenario remains a cause of concern for the Indian Army’s northern command.
The Centre is not in favour of reviewing the controversial law often blamed for alleged excesses by security forces. Government managers argue that the state police does not have adequate capacity to deal with militancy and that the hands of security forces will be tied if the Afspa is lifted.
The Afspa was one of the contentious issues during the talks between the PDP and the BJP on government formation.
The BJP national general secretary also trashed boycott calls given by separatists for the upcoming bypolls to Anantnag and Srinagar Lok Sabha seats, saying “there was nothing new in it”.
“They have done something before. They do it all the time whenever elections are around the corner. And, we also do the same thing asking the people to come out in large numbers and take part in the elections and vote for the candidates of their choice. Democracy is a celebration and everybody should celebrate it,” he said.
“We certainly want the people to take part in Anantnag and Srinagar bye-polls in large numbers,” he added.
The BJP, the alliance partner in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Jammu and Kashmir, has decided to contest the upcoming bypolls independently. The Srinagar constituency will go to polls on April 9 and voting in Anantnag seat will be held on April 12.
The PDP has fielded the CM’s brother Tassaduq Mufti in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, suggesting all may not be well within the alliance with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, he briefed the media about the impending bypolls and elections to 6 seats of the legislative council that are going to fall vacant next month saying he had come to get the feedback from the state unit of the BJP and its alliance partner PDP.
“We had detailed deliberations and have suggested PDP and BJP to hold parleys. The final decision is taken by the party high command at the Centre. BJP, too, has some votes (in Kashmir) even if they are less and there are some views of the party on contesting or not contesting the elections,” Madhav said.
He hoped that the party high command in Delhi will come out with its decision in a day or two.
On a question about an Indian Muslim cleric and his nephew reportedly missing in Pakistan, he said that the BJP government at the Centre has been utilising all available channels including diplomatic channels to bring them back to their native land.
“Once they are back, everything will be known,” he said.