Accusing the National Conference-Congress government of jumping on the separatists' bandwagon and banning the age-old Kounsar Nag Yatra for appeasing anti-India forces, BJP state general secretary Bali Bhagat on Saturday warned that communal politics of the government and the separatists could snowball into a major political explosion across the country.
At a press conference, Bhagat demanded that the government allow the yatra to commence from the original route. He said ministers of the Congress had no moral and political right to continue in office, as they had hurt the feelings of minorities like the Hindus.
"The ban on Kounsar Nag Yatra is a deliberate attempt of the government to hurt the sensitivities of Hindus, especially Kashmiri Pandits, and polarise the society for political gains," he said. Bhagat stated that the BJP would not allow anyone to vitiate the atmosphere in the state. "Why should Kashmiri Pandits come to Reasi to undertake the yatra to Kounsar Nag?" he asked. "The Lake is sacred for Kashmiri Hindus and it is up to them to choose any route."
Bhagat asserted that by banning the yatra due to pressure from intolerant fanatics in the state, the government had endorsed the communally-motivated accusation of Syed Ali Geelani that the "Kounsar Nag Yatra is the government's conspiracy against Kashmir and is a cultural aggression of the Hindus on Muslim-dominated Kashmir".
He stated that the government would have to pay a heavy price for the crime it had committed by denying Kashmiri Pandits their natural right to undertake the annual Kounsar Nag Yatra.
The BJP state general secretary also refuted the version of Congress leader and Kashmiri-based tourism minister GA Mir that the government had not granted permission for the yatra by stating that the Kulgam administration granted a written permission for the yatra from July 31 to August 3. He rubbished the claim of separatists that the yatra would pollute the environment and disturb the area's ecology and instead asked them to take stock of lakes in the state such Dal Lake, Nigeen Lake, which had become polluted over the years.
"It was not the concern for ecology and environment that made separatists and mainstream NC and Congress leaders join hands against the Kounsar Nag Yatra. It was their well-calculated attempt to hurt the sensitivities of the minority community and give a fillip to the ongoing process of radicalisation in Kashmir, and polarise the society on communal lines," said Bhagat.
He appealed to the people of the state to join the BJP's crusade against communal and separatist forces in the valley to protect, and promote the interests of the minorities and the country as a whole. Hari Om, political advisor to the BJP state president, and state spokesperson Lalit Moza were also present at the press conference.