Alleging that the UPA government at the Centre has been "mishandling" the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Tuesday demanded that separatists be sternly dealt with and land be restored to the Amarnath shrine board.
"The Congress-led government has been mishandling the situation in Jammu and Kashmir which is obviously due to its concerns over its own fate in the assembly elections in the state," Joshi told reporters in Allahabad.
The former union minister said that several surveys in the recent past had shown that "the people of the country were by-and-large against the secession of Kashmir" and that it was high time that separatists in the valley were checked "by all possible means, persuasive as well as coercive".
Joshi also demanded that the government respect the sentiments of the Hindus "by immediately returning the contentious piece of land near the Amarnath shrine to the shrine board".
Asserting that the Kashmir crisis was "a national one in which no type of international mediation shall be tolerated," the BJP leader pointed out that the country's north-eastern borders were faced with "similar threats where foreign powers seem to have vested interests".
Joshi also doubted if the UPA government would be able to effectively check SIMI's "anti-national activities".
"SIMI was banned when we were in power and the move had evoked criticism from the Left, Lalu and Mulayam. It is unlikely that the UPA will be able to take a firm stand on the outfit, though officially it has been acknowledged that such anti-national outfits are functioning through nearly 800 hideouts across the country,", he added.