BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley has conveyed to central government leaders that they must sort out the stalemate in Jammu by restoring the land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.
In his interaction with the leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, who wanted the BJP to keep in mind repercussions in the Kashmir Valley, Jaitley said the separatists’ bluff must be called. Jaitley was a member of the all-party team that visited Jammu and Srinagar recently. Subsequently, he has been exchanging views with several leaders of other parties, including those in the government.
His contention is that the Centre failed to check the separatists’ ploy to use the land row to re-fuel their azadi demand when the facts were otherwise. There was no move for Hindu colonisation of the Valley nor any blockade as alleged by the separatists.
No one is disputing the temporary use of the land for creating facilities for pilgrims, which was the thrust of the high court’s orders, he said.
The best the government can do is to follow orders by reallocating the land to the shrine board. Once the Jammu stir is off, the Centre will find it easier to handle the separatists, whose goal is well known, he said. “Why keep the people of Jammu in agony when they were only exhibiting a nationalistic spirit?”
Protest in Capital
In Delhi, senior BJP leaders courted arrest as part of its “jail bharo” agitation, demanding transfer of land to the Amarnath shrine. Jaitley addressed a 2,500-strong crowd and then courted arrest. He was accompanied by V.K. Malhotra, Shahnawaz Hussain, Ravishankar Prasad, Vijay Goel, Harshvardhan and Jagdish Mukhi.