RSS ideologue Mukherjee's martyrdom day observed in Kashmir | india | Hindustan Times
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RSS ideologue Mukherjee's martyrdom day observed in Kashmir

In a rare seminar in the Valley, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday observed the martyrdom day of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).

india Updated: Jun 24, 2010 03:39 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

In a rare seminar in the Valley, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday observed the martyrdom day of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).

Mukherjee, who died under mysterious circumstances in a Jammu jail in 1953 during the Sheikh Abdullah regime, favoured complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country.

“It’s not a matter of controversy. It’s a matter of opinion. We are democracy and people hold different opinions over issues,” BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay told the Hindustan Times in reply to a question about holding the function at a convention centre named after Abdullah.

Expressing pleasure and gratitude to people of Kashmir, Vijay said the objective of the function was to reach out to the youth of Kashmir. “Things have improved here and we have come with the message of peace for them. We want to initiate a dialogue with the youth here,” said Vijay.

The function was organised by the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Foundation, which came into existence last year and works as a think tank for the party. It is headed by Tarun Vijay, the longest serving chief editor of the RSS’ mouthpiece Panchjanya.

The speakers at the function --- included Gen (retd) V.P Malik, former army chief, well-know journalist M.J Akbar, Kashmir University V-C Riyaz Ounjabi, former ambassador TCA Rangachari, Lt Gen (retd) Aditya Singh and Maj Gen (retd) Vinod Saighal --- set a tone of reconciliation and peace with Pakistan.

“There is not alternative to love. We want peace with our neighbours,” said the BJP spokesman at the seminar with the theme ‘India Rising – Challenges of a troubled neighbourhood’

Major General (retd) Vinod Saighal stressed the need to have peace with Pakistan. “In 1990, I said war is no option. It would be a physical suicide for Pakistan, economic suicide for India and a catastrophe for South Asia,” Saighal said. He added: if there is another 26/11 type incident, still war is no option – not for India or South Asia”.

Saighal said the biggest challenge faced by India is mis-governance.

Kashmir University V-C too set a reconciliation tone viz-a-viz Pakistan and sought a dialogue process. “If dialogue in not possible but we can have cultural and educational dialogue with our neighbours,” said Punjabi, whom Vijay described as a person “who represents the ethos of India” and has “revolutionized the atmosphere” at Kashmir University.

No mainstream political part participated in the seminar. Even the invitee Peoples Democratic Party leader Muzaffar Hussein Baigh didn’t show up saying “he was ill”.

The former army chief ruled out peace with Pakistan till its intelligence agency is not reined in. “Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) should be taken over by democratic institutions and political leadership. Our enemy is not Pakistan. It is Pakistan army,” he added.

Highlighting strengths of India and weaknesses of Pakistan, renowned journalist M J Akbar said: “The Idea of India is stronger than India and the idea of Pakistan is weaker than Pakistan.”

Separatists have reacted sharply to the function. “They (BJP) are trying to gain some political benefit out of it. It is like army’s Operation Sadbhawna. On the one hand they kill people and on the other try to reach out to the masses. But people know what they are up to?” said moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.