BJP seeks Omar’s removal, no dilution of army’s special powers


New Delhi : Firmly opposing any move to lift the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from any part of Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday also sought the replacement of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who “suffers alienation from his people” and was “unpopular”.

Support TwoCircles

Senior BJP leaders including L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, and Arun Jaitley held an urgent meeting here ahead of Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) meeting Monday and said the central government was “completely devoid of any vision on how to deal with the situation”.

“What is of concern to the nation is that instead of realising the seriousness of the problem and attempting to resolve it, the central government is living in self-delusion that by diluting the applicability of the AFPSA, it can appease the separatists,” a pary statement said.

It said the last three months have seen a sudden worsening of the situation in the Kashmir Valley.

“Separatist groups supported from across the border have engineered an environment of violence and terror in the valley. An unpopular chief minister suffers a complete alienation from his people. It is time he is replaced by a more acceptable person.”

The BJP contended there were two distinct visions about the situation in the state – “one of the army and the security establishment which is being propounded by the defence ministry and the other of Congress prompted by its ‘vote bank politics’.”

“The whole nation watches anxiously as to which vision prevails in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to be held on Monday,” it said.

“The government should not under any circumstances consider lifting the AFSPA from any disturbed district of the State. The security environment must be strengthened, the miscreants must feel scared and not allowed to call the shots.”

The BJP leaders claimed that the separatists wanted to weaken the state’s political relationship with the country in a bid to realise their declared objective of ‘azadi’ (freedom).

They said that myth that about the protests being peaceful was shattered on the day of the holy festival of Eid as “violent mobs let loose in the valley attempted to threaten public property and human life”.

The meeting held at Advani’s residence was also attended by party leaders S.S Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Prasad had earlier deplored the absence of the chief minister from the state on Eid. He said it was “unfortunate and regrettable” that Omar Abdullah, instead of controlling the violence in Srinagar, chose to spend time in Delhi.

The CCS meeting, to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is expected to discuss the situation in Kashmir and consider options such as withdrawal of AFSPA from some parts of the state.

Abdullah had met the prime minister Wednesday and requested the lifting of the AFSPA from a few districts of the state.

Seventy civilians, mostly teenagers and young men, have been killed in firing by security forces on stone-pelting street protesters since June 11 in the Kashmir Valley.