No Political Package On Kashmir Before Normality: Manmohan5 August 2010
New Delhi: Meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a delegation on Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party expressed concern over the escalating violence in Jammu and Kashmir, and sought an assurance that the powers and strength of the security forces would not be diluted. The party is against the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and does not want any inquiries into alleged human rights violations by the security forces, as had happened after the Machhil encounter. In short, the BJP seems to favour a forceful muscular solution for Kashmir. Led by L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, the delegation, comprising 10 MLAs from Jammu, requested him to call an all-party meeting, where the government could take party leaders into confidence on the situation in the Valley and share any plans it may have to reverse the deteriorating situation. Briefing reporters later, Ms. Swaraj said a two-page memorandum was given to the Prime Minister, whose attitude was “positive.” She said Dr. Singh assured the delegation that no political package would be announced before peace and normality returned to the State. And he was not contemplating any step that would demoralise the security forces. He also said he would like to share with all parties what the government's thinking was. Mr. Advani told the Prime Minister that his party was disappointed with Home Minister P. Chidambaram's statement on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, as it was an “administrative narration” of events and gave no indication of the “political direction” from the Centre. The memorandum emphasised the “extreme unpopularity” of the State government, the apparent “personal resentment” of the people against Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and the “fomenting of trouble” by the People's Democratic Party from within and outside. Ironically, although the party's legislature party leader Chaman Lal Gupta, who was part of the delegation, lamented the inquiry ordered by the government into the alleged Machhil fake encounter by the Army, he also complained about withdrawal of police security for his son, who was “now afraid to move about freely. “This led to a spate of questions being addressed to him and the BJP: “Was it the party's case there should be no inquiries into fake encounters of young and innocent Kashmiri lads who are killed while children of politicians should be protected by the state? Did the BJP want the security forces to be given a licence to kill anyone they chose to eliminate?” “No, we are not in favour of a licence to kill, but nothing must be done that could demoralise security forces,” Ms. Swaraj said.