Once again exposing divergent views between the coalition partners BJP and PDP in J-K, ruling PDP minister Nayeem Akhter on Sunday opposed the idea of creating counter insurgency forces to fight militants in the state.
“Revival of the dark era of Ikhwanis (counter insurgents) was not just possible as such practices were not only illegal and unconstitutional but unethical as well,” said senior PDP leader and state education minister Akhter, who is also state government spokesman.
Akhter’s statement assumes significance as the Union defence minister two days ago propounded the idea of “terrorists killing the terrorists and not the soldiers.”
“Whosoever is dishing out such absurd views is grossly ignorant about both the ground realities in Kashmir and the law,” said Akhter, without naming the defence minister. Referring to the judgment on Salwa Judam, the government sponsored gunmen used by the Chattisgarh government against Maoists, Akhter said, “The Supreme Court has declared all such activities illegal and unconstitutional.”
The PDP minister said the Supreme Court has made it clear that arms can’t be given to a civilian to kill.“Anybody doing so will be an abettor of the offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code,” he added.
Obliquely referring to the defence minister’s remarks, Akhter said, “If somebody has made any statement on the issue, he must be completely ignorant about the law.”
The Union minister’s remarks ruffled many a feather in the Valley with separatists expressing concern over revival of the counter-insurgency force to kill covertly.
“The PDP has earned its credibility among the masses by rising against and holding back such practices. Everybody knows how in 2002, the PDP-led coalition government not only ended the infamous Ikhwan culture in Kashmir, but also wound up the dreaded Task Force and the people in every nook and corner of the state,” said Akhter.
“It was NC which for the first time provided political space to Ikhwanis in 1996 by sending them to the legislature and Congress was not far behind in institutionalising Ikhwan culture by offering some noted Ikhwanis space in the party’s rank and file,” he alleged.
The PDP is facing public pressure after the Union minister’s remarks, raising fears of revival of the counter-insurgency force that wreaked havoc and indulged in grave human rights abuses.
“The PDP envisions a place of dignity, peace, prosperity and opportunity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, with political empowerment, economic emancipation and social uplift as the guiding principles of its policy,” said Akhter.