‘People would have hit the streets if...’: BJP leader on Kashmiri politicians
Senior BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna said on Saturday the people of Kashmir would have hit the streets if Kashmiri politicians had been their real leaders and instead there was “not even a single reaction or word of sympathy” for them in the Valley.
National Conference president and member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah, his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and several others remain under detention in Srinagar since August 4, a day before the Centre scrapped Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre had also put the restrictions on the movement of people and placed a communication clampdown citing the possibility of violence in the wake of the August 5 decision.
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“They looted Kashmir for the past 70 years. Had they been real leaders of Kashmiris, people would have reacted and protested but there was not even a single word of sympathy for them,” Khanna said while responding to queries about plans to release the Abdullahs and Mehbooba Mufti.
“Only 10 members of a family came out the other day to lodge a protest. People know that these leaders looted Kashmir,” Khanna, who is also the in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, said.
Khanna’s comments came after the BJP’s spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi statement in Hyderabad on October 1 that people of the region were so angry that if restrictions were lifted, they would probably “lynch” these leaders.
“I am sure that the people who are frustrated with the actions of these three families, the political manoeuvrability and the control they have exercised, if restrictions are removed, they will probably be lynched on the roads, because the kind of wrongs they have committed in the state,” Lekhi had said without naming anyone.
Khanna also assured that the government was serious in maintaining law and order in the region and that would not allow terrorism to raise its ugly head.
“First of all, I want to make it clear that the government is very serious to maintain law and order in Kashmir. However, the way an innocent trader from Punjab was killed and another injured, it reflected desperation on the part of terrorists,” he said.
Khanna was referring to the killing of the apple trader from Punjab in Trenz by suspected militants on Wednesday. A labourer from Chhattisgarh was also killed in separate incidents in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, taking the death toll of people from outside of the state to be killed by militants to three since Monday.
Before that, gunmen had shot dead a truck driver from Rajasthan on Monday at Shirmal village in Shopian when he was loading apples onto his truck.
“They are disheartened and are trying to kill innocents. The killers have been identified and will soon be nabbed or killed. I assure the people that the government is not going to allow any deterioration in law and order situation,” he said.
“Shops are being opened and normal life is back but militants are not feeling good about it and that is why they are resorting to such cowardice acts but the government will not allow them to vitiate the atmosphere,” he asserted.
The BJP’s national vice-president also claimed that life has returned to normal in the Kashmir Valley.
“I personally visited north and south Kashmir and saw a big traffic movement. People accepted that post revocation of Article 370 and 35-A, peace and development will be speeded up in the state. I have seen myself in Kashmir that how people are happy and elated about its abrogation,” he said.
He also informed that out of 137 blocks, 130 of them were going to the Block Development Council polls for which 520 candidates have filed their nominations.
“Political movement at the grass-root level has started and people in Kashmir have reposed their faith in democracy,” he asserted.
A woman Asifa Tabassum Mir from Pakistan occupied Kashmir is contesting the BDC polls in Uri, which he said, showed that it showed faith in democracy.
The BDC elections are due to be held--for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir--on October 24.