STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A senior minister in the ruling BJP-PDP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a massive row by saying that bullets are the only way to deal with stone-pelters in Kashmir.
BJP Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga said that all the ‘anti-national’ forces could be made to mend their ways by use of bullets.
The ruling PDP hit out at Chander Prakash Ganga, terming it a “conspiracy” to keep the pot boiling in the Valley.
“Such detestable remarks not only reflect the nauseous mentality of some extremist politicians in the state, but also expose the larger design of certain elements to provoke fresh trouble in Kashmir so that Kashmiris are pushed into perpetual educational and economic dis-empowerment,” senior PDP leader Peerzada Mansoor said in a statement.
He said such provocative utterances “smack of a larger conspiracy” to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir.
Ganga, who is the Industries Minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government, had reportedly called stone-pelters as traitors.
“There is only one remedy for them and that is bullets. And if not bullets, they should be given punishments like the youths who are beaten with sticks by forces. Take my word that next time they (the youth) won’t throw stones,” Ganga was quoted as saying by the local media.
Mansoor said the BJP leaders should understand that any devious effort to flare up passions in Kashmir would end up in spreading the poison of hatred across the length and breadth of the state and put it on fire.
“Such an undesirable situation would serve nobody’s purpose except bringing destruction to the state and its people,” he said, adding it is because of the lunacies of same breed of politicians that the Kashmir situation has reached such an impasse today.
Instead of indulging in ludicrous rhetoric, the political leadership, both in New Delhi and within the state, should work through tangible measures towards resolution of the issues to ensure peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
Mansoor said the Centre must engage with the people of the state to find a lasting solution to the issue.
“The Centre must address issues concerning J&K with a sense of urgency, sincerity and seriousness by resuming the dialogue process not only with Pakistan but with all the stakeholders, within the state as well, including the separatists,” he said.
We hope the Government of India will take necessary measures to address the causes of alienation and trust deficit in Kashmir and work towards finding a long-lasting solution to the problem plaguing the region for the past more than six decades, he added.
The business organizations in Kashmir also hit out at the BJP minister for his outpouring.
A joint meeting of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industry (KCCI), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) and Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) was held on Thursday, a spokesman of the KCCI said here.
He said the trade bodies vehemently condemn the irresponsible statement made by Ganga with a warning to the BJP leadership to restrain their leaders and cadres from threatening Kashmiris.
The meeting termed the statement as granting the security forces a licence to kill.
PDP’s vice president Sartaj Madni termed Ganga’s statement as “gross insensitive”.
“Such disgusting utterances are not only unjustifiable but perilous as well,” he said adding, “It is unbecoming of a senior minister to dish out such a sweeping, sickening and intimidating statement against the Kashmiri youth”.
Madni said BJP minister’s statement is in contravention to the stand of the State Cabinet on April 18, which had expressed deep anguish over loss of lives and directed security agencies to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with law and order situations.
The PDP Vice President said instead of reaching out to the distressed and alienated Kashmiri youth and address their concerns, the hawkish rhetoric has the danger of further adding to alienation of the people and impeding the government’s efforts of restoring peace in the Valley.
“Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed entered into an alliance with BJP with the objective of bridging the gulf between people of different regions the State. Unfortunately the unwarranted statements of such fringe elements are negating the basic philosophy of this alliance,” he said.
However, BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi said party minister’s statement is his personal view and not necessarily that of the party.
“If any person takes law into his own hand or does some criminal activities, action should be taken against him as per the law,” he said adding, “The security personnel have to resort to firing sometimes under compelling circumstances as they are facing threat to their lives”.
PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said that late Mufti Sayeed with the support of Atal Behari Vajpayee tried to change such mindset and attitude.
“This mindset and attitude of the minister needs is to a large extent responsible for unfortunate and painful situation in Kashmir,” Beg told.
“Mufti Sahab with support from Vajpayee had created at atmosphere which, unfortunately, was not followed by Manmohan Singh-led Congress government in 12 years,” he said.
However, PDP’s coalition partner BJP tried to tone down the controversy, saying that to run the government “our coalition partner should not go into these remarks”.
“BJP always wants development and progress of the Jammu and Kashmir. We want youth of Kashmir not be provoked by Pak-sponsored agitations. Instead, youth should utilize their energy in positive direction and for development of the state,” Ashok Kaul, BJP’s General Secretary (Organisation), told.
“The minister statement may have been twisted by the media, or it is slip of tongue. Our coalition partner should brush aside such remarks. And these statements won’t make any difference in running the government,” Koul said.
On late Thursday night, Minister for Industries and Commerce Chander Parkash said that his statement was misinterpreted and regrets the controversy created over it.
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