BJP leaders meet PM over Kashmir situation


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday told a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including legislators from Jammu and Kashmir, that the government’s first priority was restoration of peace and stability in the troubled state and nothing would be done to demoralise the security forces stationed there.

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Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said the prime minister also assured the party delegation that the government had no hesitation in calling an all-party meeting to discuss the situation in the troubled state.

Swaraj, who was part of the delegation that also comprised leaders L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley, said that some decisions of the state government over the past few months had impacted the morale of the security forces.

She said the party had demanded an all-party meeting to discuss the situation.

“The prime minister’s attitude to our demands was positive,” Swaraj said.

She said Manmohan Singh had told the delegation that the government’s priority was to restore peace in the state and it was not thinking of any package now.

She described the situation in the state as “unprecedented”.

Answering queries, she said that nobody had given people the right to attack security forces with stones.

BJP legislative party leader in the state assembly Chaman Lal Gupta said the situation in the state had not been created in a day, and both the central and state governments had contributed to worsening of the problem.

He said that inquiries had been repeatedly instituted against security forces which had put them in a defensive mode. “They are saving themselves rather than dealing with the situation,” he said.

He said army troops had been withdrawn from Doda, Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region and there was reduction of forces in the Valley also.

He also criticised plans to rehabilitate those who had left for Pakistan-administered Kashmir and said the government should keep a tight vigil on the way money sent to the state was spent.

Gupta said that the government had to keep in mind the resolution of parliament of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part of the country while finding a solution to the problem.

In their letter to the prime minister, the BJP MLAs said there was “near anarchy” in the state since June 11.

The letter said the state government was clueless in dealing with the strategy adopted by separatists to resort to acts of mob violence. It said the separatists had changed their strategy since 2008 after realizing that global acceptability of acts of terror had ceased and that the forces can deal with terrorism.

“The state government has become unpopular. There is personal resentment against the chief minister. He appears to be getting alienated from his own party cadre. Your former ally PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) senses an opportunity in fomenting trouble,” the letter said.

“How long can an unpopular chief minister continue to hold the reins, particularly when he is unable to reach people? A section of the Congress party also seems to have lost confidence in him,” the letter added.

Asserting that the party was against dilution of the presence of security forces in the state when Pakistan was fomenting trouble, the party said that no demand that weakens India’s sovereignty over Kashmir should be accepted.

The letter said that separatists were getting instructions from across the border to incite people to throw stones at security forces. “Disguised terrorists are also part of these violent mobs… So far 1,262 security personnel have been injured. Participants in mob violence have also been injured, some have even lost their lives.”

The BJP has 11 MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir.

The recurring violence in the Kashmir Valley has led to 47 deaths since June 11.