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BJP manifesto high on ‘nationalism’: Promises abrogation of Art 35A, 370, ‘free hand’ to forces, Citizenship bill

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New Delhi, Apr 8: The BJP manifesto has only added to the perception that its Lok Sabha election campaign will primarily revolve around the theme of ‘nationalism’.

The party launched its manifesto Monday, promising “zero tolerance” of militancy, calling for the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A, which grant special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and counting the 2016 surgical strikes and the Balakot air strikes as examples of its security doctrine.

BJP, which released its election manifesto at New Delhi headquarters, said that the party reiterates its position since the time of Jan Sangh to abrogate both the articles.

 

“We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to abrogation of Article 370. We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir,” reads the manifesto.

The manifesto has been titled Sankalp Patra, means intention formed by the heart and mind.

The manifesto also talks about the return of the Kashmiri Pandits.

“We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits,” read the manifesto. It said the party will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir (PaK) and Chhamb.

The manifesto also states that the armed forces will continue to have a “free hand” to challenge any threats. It has reasoned that in order to achieve India’s long-term goals, “we must first secure our country against internal and external aggression”.

“As we have already demonstrated, we intend to use our foreign policy, where necessary, in order to tackle the problem of global terrorism. Thus, we intend to increase the strength of our diplomatic and allied cadres,” the manifesto reads. “We will also build on the ‘Make in India in Defence’ initiative to further indigenise our defence equipment.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was among a host of top BJP leaders at the launch of the manifesto, said the party was guided by ‘nationalist’ principles.

In his note, party president Amit Shah counted “surgical strike, air strike” as the many decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he termed were “historic and has ushered in a comprehensive and fundamental transformation” in the country.

“Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only,” the BJP said.

 “We will firmly continue our policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security,” the BJP said.

The manifesto promises include bringing in Uniform Civil Code, Citizenship Amendment Bill among others.

The BJP said it will speed up the purchases of outstanding defence-related equipment and weapons.

“In order to equip the armed forces with modern equipment, we will continue to take focused steps to strengthen the strike capability of the armed forces,” the manifesto says.

The BJP counted the recent India-Russia joint venture for manufacturing AK-203 automatic rifles at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh as one of its achievements.

“We are committed to focus on ‘Make in India in Defence’ to enable indigenous production of defence equipment,” the BJP manifesto states. “This will also generate employment and encourage investment in the defence sector.”

While the BJP has spoken about Make in India in defence, the government does not have to show much when it comes to indigenous defence manufacturing. Some of the mega Make in India projects such as the ones for fighter aircraft, helicopters and submarines are yet to see the light of day.

The BJP has claimed that in the last five years, the Modi government has made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive action and a firm policy.

“We are committed to overcoming all obstacles that come in the way of development and provide adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state,” the BJP said. “We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh for the abrogation of Article 370.”


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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