BJP slams blocking of Jaitley’s Kishtwar visit

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: The BJP Sunday lashed out at the Jammu and Kashmir government for detaining party leader Arun Jaitley at Jammu airport, preventing him from going towards trouble-torn Kishtwar and forcing him to return to Delhi.

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    “Detaining Shri Arun Jaitley at the Jammu airport by J&K government is highly condemnable. It seems the government is trying to hide something,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh said.

    “The BJP delegation to Kishtwar was an effort to take stock of the situation and help in building peace and harmony in the state,” the BJP chief said in a tweet.

    Jaitley, who flew back to Delhi, termed the state government’s action as “unconstitutional.”

    “I don’t know under which law they (Jammu and Kashmir government) have the right not to allow someone to visit the state. This is totally undemocratic and unconstitutional. They want to keep the truth hidden,” Jaitley told reporters soon after landing at Delhi airport.

    After riots broke out Friday, curfew was impose in Kishtwar. It continued for the third day Sunday. Authorities also clamped curfew in Jammu city and Rajouri town past-midnight Saturday and similar curbs were imposed in Rajouri, Kathua, Samba, Reasi, Katra and Udhampur towns Sunday.

    Jaitley, who is leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said a “particular community” was being targeted in the hilly regions of Jammu.

    “This is the biggest example of failure of secularism in this country. Earlier, a particular community was pushed out of the Kashmir Valley completely,” Jaitley said, adding “the state is a complete silent spectator, if not colluding in this”.

    The party’s poll campaign committee chief and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called the action against Jaitley undemocratic.

    “Heard that Arun Jaitley and other opposition leaders are not allowed to go to Kishtwar. This is undemocratic,” Modi tweeted.

    “Stopping opposition leaders in this manner shows that the government does not want the truth about the Kishtwar violence to come out,” said Modi.

    Party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi expressed concern over media blackout in the area.

    “Stopping the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha who was going to assess the situation is undemocratic and reminds us of 1953 when Sh. S.P. Mookerjee was arrested in 1953 by Sheikh Abdullah when he went to Kashmir,” Lekhi said.

    Mehbooba Mufti, president of Jammu and Kashmir’s opposition People’s Democratic Party, said she too was not allowed to enter Kishtwar.

    Indefinite curfew continued for the third day Sunday in Kishtwar town where violence Friday claimed two lives and property worth millions of rupees in clashes between two communities.

    The army was called out to assist the civilian administration Saturday, and staged flag marches in Kishtwar town to instil confidence among the people.