BJP won’t allow autonomy, self-rule, azadi in J&K24 December 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principle opposition party of the country, today declared that it wouldn’t allow, at any cost, the grant of autonomy, self-rule or ‘azadi’ to Kashmir and fight tooth and nail any attempt to further dilute integration of the State with rest of India. The BJP warned a nation wide agitation against bid by the Central Government to grant more powers to Kashmir, which could further take away the State from India. Addressing ‘Ekta Sankalap Rally’ at Mini Stadium, Parade Ground here, the BJP top brass including L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley among others made it clear that the BJP stood for complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India and its accession with the country was final and irrevocable. 'Under no circumstances, the BJP would allow the Centre to grant autonomy, self-rule or azadi to Kashmir. If any attempt is made by the Government to grant any of the three proposals to Kashmir, we would go for a country wide agitation and thwart the Centre’s move’’, they said, adding that the BJP would strongly oppose any move by the Centre to change the status of J&K through a Parliamentary resolution. Ruling National Conference has been demanding autonomy to the State while Opposition PDP has been projecting its self-rule. Some hard-liner separatists were favouring ‘azadi’. Rejecting all three proposals, BJP president Nitin Gadkari instead called for revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution, granting special status to the State, leading to total integration of J&K with rest of India. Surprisingly, the national BJP leaders mentioned about discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions but excepting Mr Advani, none of them made any reference to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks on J&K’s accession with India, which had been made an issue by the party at national as well as State level. The BJP, however, announced formation of a separate committee of senior party leaders on Jammu and Kashmir very soon to monitor situation and other developments from time to time. The party strongly opposed recently announced ‘Rehabilitation Policy for Militants’ describing it as an 'appeasement on the name of secularism’’. In his 30 minutes speech at the rally, BJP Parliamentary Board chairman, L K Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister, asserted that it was due to the sacrifices of late Jan Sangh leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee that the national flag was unfurling in the State. It was Mukherjee’s struggle that ended permit system in J&K, he recalled. Reiterating that unity and integrity of the country can’t be compromised at any cost, Mr Advani declared that this rally is being held as a resolve against discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions. The veteran BJP leader, who had himself migrated from West Pakistan to New Delhi and finally settled in Gujarat, made a special mention of the plight of West Pak refugees in Jammu and Kashmir, who have been denied even basic citizenship rights by the State Government. 'When I was 20 years old, I came from Karachi to New Delhi before settling in Gujarat after a brief stay at Jaipur. Had I shifted to J&K, I would have no citizenship right’’, he said in reference to the plight of West Pak refugees, who have been struggling for past several years to get the citizenship rights. Mr Advani recalled that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, had in 1953, said that after partition and creation of Pakistan, there should be no talks of further separation of any part of India. 'Mukherjee had to agitate and even sacrificed his life for the cause of Kashmir. His ideas are being pursued by the BJP and we won’t allow any further partition of the country’’, he declared. In an oblique reference to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks on accession of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of India, the BJP leader said over 500 States including Junagarh had acceded to India. All these States now form an integral part of India, he added. Taking a dig at Congress, he charged the ruling party with 'lacking ideas’’ on what to do with Kashmir like situation. 'The Congress is running out of ideas’’, he remarked. Referring to recently held plenary session of the Congress, Mr Advani pointed out that it was hardly attended by 10,000 to 15,000 people. Contrary to this, such sessions of the BJP are attended by over one lakh people. 'The Congress only talked of growing strength of the BJP in its plenary. There were no talks on Maoists, terrorism, corruption etc. They are more worried about the BJP’s gaining popularity than the problems faced by the country’’, he regretted. On corruption in the UPA Government, the BJP leader recalled that Moulana Abul Kalam Azad has strongly opposed the introduction of G K Menon in Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Cabinet in 1964 on charges of financial irregularities during his sting as Ambassador in England. Kalam had not only opposed the appointment of Menon but even threatened to quit if he was made the Minister, he remembered but regretted that present Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet has 9 tainted Ministers. On Rs 1.76 lakh crore worth 2G-spectrum scam, Advani said 'had even a part of the amount spent in Jammu, it would have removed the charges of discrimination with Jammu region’’. Questioning governances of the UPA Government, the BJP leader wondered that even an Inquiry Report pertaining to jail of 273 security force personnel during emergency by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was missing. Mr Advani said Mukherjee had warned separatist movement in Kashmir in 1953 if the Congress didn’t change its policies. The BJP will continue its fight for ‘Ek Nishaan and Ek Samvidhaan’ in J&K, he added. He said the UPA shouldn’t allow corruption in the Government on the mere pretext of ‘coalition compulsions’. BJP president Nitin Gadkari declared that the BJP wouldn’t allow the status of J&K to be altered by granting it autonomy, self-rule or ‘azadi’ and would fight with full force for the rights of Jammu and Ladakh regions and the discrimination being meted out to the two regions. Instead, the BJP would stress for abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to the State. He said the feeling of J&K being a special State should be removed and it should be totally integrated with India. 'Any attempt by the Centre to alter the status of Jammu and Kashmir through a Parliamentary resolution will be resisted by the BJP both within and outside the Parliament’’, Mr Gadkari said. He wanted to know whether autonomy, self-rule or azadi would solve the major problem of unemployment in J&K. He announced that the BJP would form a committee of senior party leaders to monitor situation and latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir. The committee will be formed soon after the return of party’s top brass to New Delhi. The BJP chief described as 'appeasement of a community on the name of secularism’’ the rehabilitation policy for militants, camping in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), which was recently approved by National Conference-Congress coalition Government. He said the BJP is strongly opposed to the Rehabilitation Policy as it could pose a threat to security of the country and the State. Taking Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to task on the hanging of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, Mr Gadkari said the two leaders were answerable to the nation as to why Guru has not been hanged so far. Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir was close to the hearts of the BJP leadership for the sacrifice of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee while opposing 'do vidhan, do pradhan, do nishaan’ and valuable contribution of Prem Nath Dogra, the BJP president said it was duty of the BJP to see that Article 370 of the Constitution, which has created a feeling of separatism in Kashmir, is done away with. 'Bihar has today become an example of development. On the other, J&K was gripped with poverty and unemployment’’, he said and held 'wrong policies’’ of the Congress responsible for Kashmir turmoil. It is not a problem of any cast or religion but wrong policies of the Congress have created all the trouble, he claimed. 'If one tourist comes to Maharashtra, 85 local people are benefited. However, due to Article 370 in J&K, the big industrial houses are not ready to set up their ventures in the State. This had resulted into unemployment among the youth. Till Article 370 is removed, the problems of people will continue to go up’’, Mr Gadkari asserted. Pointing out that since 1947, over Rs 1.90 lakh crore were given to Jammu and Kashmir by the Centre, the BJP chief said even 10 per cent of it didn’t appear to have been utilized on ground. 'The Congress is accountable as to where rest of the funds went’’, he added. Averring that Pakistan had resorted to cross-border terrorism after losing in direct confrontation with India in the form of three conflicts, Mr Gadkari lamented that the UPA Government has not policy or programme to counter Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Making a scathing attack on Congress led UPA Government at Centre for its wrong policies on Jammu and Kashmir, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said the BJP stands for total integration of J&K with India and warned that Party will not allow any proposal regarding restoration of pre 1953 position to be implemented in the State. 'In case any such proposal is mooted, the BJP will launch a nation-wide agitation and not allow it to be passed in the Parliament', she said, adding 'we want to give a clear message across the country on this issue'. She said that J&K comprised of three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and nation will not be cowed down by the violent agitation in five districts of Kashmir valley. Expressing her grave concern towards the regional discrimination to which the people of Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil are subjected to by the Government, she said, 'what sin the people of these regions have committed that they are being ignored constantly'. Every delegation from Centre visits Kashmir but they have no time to visit Ladakh and Jammu, she lamented. The Leader of Opposition said instead of looking into the grievances of the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions, the Government is bothered about the separatists 'who are linked to Pakistan.' 'Though some members of All Party Parliamentary delegation visited separatist leaders' residences during their recent visit to the State to hold dialogue with them, the BJP members rejected it outrightly,' she added.