Will not allow exodus from Jammu: Chidambaram

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Three people have died in communal clashes in the Jammu region, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha Monday and added that the government would not allow a repeat of the 1990 exodus from the state.

    His reference to 1990 related to the forced migration of Kashmiri pandits from the Kashmir valley due to insurgency.

    Both houses of parliament were disrupted over the riots in Kishtwar town in the Jammu region Friday even as the central government sought a report from the state government amid demands that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah be sacked.

    “So far, two Muslims and one Hindu have died in the clashes. All of us are Indians. Three Indian lives have been lost and that is a matter of great regret,” Chidambaram said in the upper house of parliament.

    “We will not allow repetition of 1990. We will not allow forced migration, we will not allow forced resettlement, everybody will be protected in the area in which he or she lives,” Chidambaram said.

    Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed fears that the violence in Jammu may lead to a situation similar to the one in the Valley in 1990.

    As Jaitley questioned his detention at Jammu airport by the Jammu and Kashmir government, Chidambaram defended the move saying the time was not right for the opposition leader’s visit.

    Omar Abdullah hit out at Jaitley for terming the Kishtwar violence “a threat to India’s sovereignty”.

    He called BJP leaders “hypocrites” and pointed to the party-led Gujarat government’s response to the 2002 sectarian riots.

    “Would Jaitley be so kind as to inform parliament whether the Gujarat home minister or MOS Home resigned or even offered to in 2002?” Abdullah tweeted.

    Omar’s father and federal New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah raised the issue of the Gujarat riots in which over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

    “When the riots occurred in Gujarat in 2002, the army was not allowed inside. No one from outside was allowed to enter Ahmedabad. Gujarat is not a property of Modi.”

    Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo resigned after coming under attack over the communal violence in Kishtwar.

    The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) accused the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) of provoking violence against Muslims in the Jammu region and urged the state to take firm steps against rumour mongers and rioters.

    “There are reports that activists of the BJP, RSS (and) VHP are fanning out and inciting people to attack houses and shops owned by the minority community,” a CPI-M statement said.

    The central government sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir government over the violence.

    “We are in constant touch with the Jammu and Kashmir government and are seeking a report from them,” federal Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N. Singh said.

    Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded president’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the state government had failed to handle the situation in Kishtwar after last Friday’s communal violence. The Samajwadi Party said Omar Abdullah should not be sacked.

    “Law and order has failed in Jammu and Kashmir and the state government has failed to control the situation. I demand that the state government be dismissed and president’s rule be imposed,” Mayawati said in the Rajya Sabha.

    “The state alone cannot manage the situation. But dismissing the (state) government is not a solution either,” Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav told the Rajya Sabha.

    The finance minister was responding to a brief discussion in the upper house on last week’s riots in Kishtwar town. He made the statement as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was unwell.