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Trend shows BJP opposes almost every PDP move

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, May 11: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been confronting, almost routinely, its ruling partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the two joined hands for what is often described as an ‘unholy alliance’ in Jammu and Kashmir.

The latest is the BJP’s opposition to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement of appealing New Delhi to enforce a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir in view of Ramadan and Amarnath pilgrimage.

She had made the announcement after an all-party meeting convened by her to discuss the growing crisis in Kashmir Valley.

 

Just a day after the meeting, the BJP rejected it, saying, “Her decision wasn’t in the nation’s interest.”

The issue has put both the coalition partners at the loggerheads with members of both the parties taking on each other.

“Their objection won’t matter when the decision is for the people’s welfare and accepted by all others parties,” the PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said.

Prior to it, the Chief Minister had to face embarrassment on the Kathua rape and murder case in which she supported Crime Branch investigation, which was again opposed by the BJP.

On February 14, after a group of people led by a BJP leader took out a protest in favour of an accused Hindu police official in the case, the CM tweeted: “Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag… this is nothing short of desecration.”

Following public outrage, Mufti reportedly forced two BJP ministers to resign from her cabinet.

However, later Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Forest and Ecology minister, reorganized rallies and demanded resignation of the Chief Minister.

“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti must take responsibility of the incident and quit,” he had said.

Earlier this year in February, the BJP also snubbed Chief Minister for calling a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the civilian casualties in cross-border firing and militant violence.

The BJP called a press conference by its spokesperson Sunil Sethi who took on Chief Minister by saying that “amidst the sound of bullets and missiles and spilt blood, a certain class is advocating for talks between Pakistan and India and advocating that latter must take forward step for it”.

“It is not at all suitable at the time when Pakistan is openly supporting militants for carrying out attacks in the state and especially when the slain militants who attacked Sunjwan military station hailed from across the border,” he has said.

 Since the last two years of Chief Minister, Article 370 has been constantly debated between the coalition partners, with both expressing divergent views on the issue.

In 2017, Mufti said that the “anybody weakening Article 370, which grants special status to the state, will be doing the biggest anti-national act.”

The statement was responded differently by the former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh then who asserted that Article 370 has caused harm to Jammu and Kashmir and called for abrogation of the provision.

“The Article 370 has done more harm than anything. The BJP had set 44 plus target in last state assembly elections which the party could not achieve and got only 25 seats. If we would have got 44 plus, things would have been different,” Singh has said.

The BJP asserted that Article 35-A of the Constitution, which grants special status to the State is “not a sacred cow that cannot be touched“.

In 2016, soon after when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister of the state, controversies started between BJP and PDP over issues of Sainik Colonies and abrogation of Article- 35 A.

On the floor of the house, the Chief Minister said that the state government had no proposal for Sainik colonies and the exclusive colonies for migrated Pandits.

However, BJP continued supporting the idea of settling Kashmiri Pandits in transit accommodation and setting up of Sainik colonies.

“BJP is in favour of setting up Sainik Colony in Kashmir as well as resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits. If a Sainik Colony can be set up in Jammu, why not in Kashmir?” BJP National Secretary, Shrikant Sharma, has said.


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Guv reaches out to Hurriyat:’ I’m no alien, contact me directly in case of injustice’

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Jan 15: J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik Tuesday reached out to the Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir urging them to apprise him directly of the cases of “atrocity and injustice” to common people that they may come across.

Malik made the offer with an appeal that the Hurriyat Conference leaders should not treat him as “an alien”.

“I have a message for Hurriyat that they should not consider me as an alien,” Governor Malik told news agency PTI in an interview.

 

“As far as Hurriyat is concerned, I have respect for them, even though their ideology is different from mine. They have a different ideology and I have a different one,” the governor added.

Promising to treat Hurriyat leaders’ complaints with due urgency, the governor said, “If they (Hurriyat) feel there is any atrocity (by troops or police), they can contact me on phone or send a person to me.”

“I will treat them (and their complaints) the way I am treating the rest of the people,” said the governor, maintaining that he has opened up the Raj Bhawan for all.

In his first-ever statement aimed at building bridges between Hurriyat leaders and the Raj Bhawan, Malik also expressed hope that “at some level, there will be talks too” with them at some time.

Explaining that he has always been hearing out the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Malik said, “I take all calls including those from common people of the state. My mobiles and WhatsApp have never been silent. All those complaints which come to me on WhatsApp, I have tried to address them.”

The governor even attended a few calls from general public during the interview itself.

Malik said he even often sends officials from Raj Bhawan to collect the complaints of aggrieved individuals, even if they may not be so pressing or urgent.

Malik emphasised that in his dealings, his opinion is based not merely on official briefings but on narratives of the common people as well.

“I have met all political leaders and keep meeting them regularly,” he said, adding he has also met several delegations of common people and youth groups, “opening himself to them and hearing them out”.

“There is a need to establish contact with them and work according to their aspirations so that they understand that the Centre is not against them,” he added.

Malik said during his short tenure in the office, he has received and resolved thousands of complaints and grievances and has given directions to his advisors to address them as soon as possible.

The grievance cell of Jammu and Kashmir administration has resolved over 40,000 of the complaints registered so far by it.

Since the imposition of the Governor’s rule in the state on June 20, the grievance cell has received 41,716 complaints, of which 40,457 have been dealt with, officials said.

These complaints have been forwarded to the quarters concerned for timely resolution, they said, adding that 877 complaints were “under process”.

The three advisors to the governor have been regularly meeting and hearing the grievances both in Srinagar and Jammu, they said.

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GoI should talk to militants too: Mehbooba

‘People don’t hate PDP; they’re just upset with it’

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Srinagar, Jan 15: Terming local militants as “sons of soil”, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said efforts should be made to save them, adding the Government of India (GoI) should initiate dialogue with the militant leadership in Kashmir to end the “gun culture”.

“Right now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the militant leadership should also be talked to as it is they who have the guns and only they can end the gun culture,” she told reporters in Anantnag after a party function.

“I believe at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and militants as well,” she said.

 

Mehbooba said local militants should be prevented from walking on the path of violence.

“Right from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that local militants are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save them because they are assets.

“If an encounter breaks out, the two people (militants and security forces) come face to face and no one can do anything about it then,” she said.

The PDP leader said that people of Kashmir “are upset with us but don’t hate us” for the party’s decision to align with BJP.

“We aligned with BJP to resolve the issue of Kashmir, our party is created for resolution of Kashmir issue, not to come to power,” she said.

“We are sure sooner people will understand why we joined hands with BJP and leave their grudge aside,” Mehbooba added.

On those who left the party, Mehbooba said that they were always against her and that they were the ones to woo BJP in 2016 after her father’s death.

“Those who left the party went to BJP and asked them to form a government because they had a lust for power. If I had not aligned with BJP, God knows what these leaders would have compromised to come into power,” the former BJP ally said.

On her statement on civilian killings that was criticised, she reiterated that she was “just being a mother”.

On rehabilitation of militant families, Mehbooba said that she has always been visiting those who have been affected in the conflict.

“I have been visiting affected families since the incident of Machil encounter,” Mehbooba stated.

On Farooq Abdullah’s statement on operation all out, she said that during National conference rule the former chief minister said that fake encounters were on rise.

“Thank God! there was no fake encounter during our rule,” she said.

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In Kulgam, Omar trains guns at Guv, Mehbooba

‘Kuka Parrey would have been CM had my father not fought ‘96 polls; Guv should leave politics to us; As CM, Mehbooba could have done much more for militants’

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Srinagar, Jan 15: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and vice-president National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that Governor Satya Pal Malik’s job was not to interfere in state politics but to make the situation favourable for the elections so that people are able to take part in electoral process again.

“Governor (SP Malik) Sahab’s job is not to interfere in the politics here. Politics is our job. The sole responsibility of the Governor and his administration is to make the situation favourable to conduct elections so that people will once again take part in the election process,” Omar said during a rally in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

Criticising the governor for his remark that there is no ‘Operation All-out’ in Kashmir, Omar said people are now confused as “on one hand we listen to (words like) operation all-out from the army and on another, we hear from the Governor that there was no such operation.”

 

“We will never support such operation where the people will suffer the most. The crackdowns, killings or excesses, whatever you will name them, even then we won’t support such operations,” Omar said.

He said that it needed to be understood what was forcing youth to take to militancy.

“We would like to understand these things and would try to address them accordingly,” Omar added.

Later while taking to reporters, the NC vice-president said had his party and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah not contested 1996 election in the state then the notorious militant-turned renegade Kuka Parray would have been chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Nobody can deny this or even I can’t prove it, this is my belief that if Farooq Sahab and NC would not have contested 1996 elections then Kuka Parray would have been J&K CM. Whether or not anybody accepts this, it is up to them,” Omar said.

On PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Omar said as J&K Chief Minister she could have done more for such families, but at that time she completely forgot them.

“She could have done well for these families when she was heading a government. She had good relations with Prime Minister. She was calling Defence Minister on phone and was also heading a powerful Unified Command,” he said.

“But at that time she never bothered to visit them,” he said adding: “Now, when she has nothing with her, and her party is in shambles, she is visiting these families,” Omar said.

On former IAS officer Shah Faesal, the NC vice-president said that it is for him to decide where he wants to go now after quitting his job.

“It’s his choice now where to go. If he wants to join NC then definitely we will discuss it. As Shah Faesal has quit his service for the people of Kashmir, it is he who has to decide how to work for the people,” he said.

He hoped that south Kashmir would give his party another chance in the next assembly elections.

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