June 2018 News
'BJP Wants To Neutralise Terrorists, Spur Development During Governor's Rule In J&K': Ram Madhav To Firstpost21 June 2018
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of the government in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, following which Governor's Rule was imposed. BJP Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Ram Madhav announced the split at a press conference. Madhav, the national general secretary of the BJP, plays a key role in the party's functioning in the state. In an interview with Firstpost, he spoke on the reasons for introducing Governor's Rule and the suspension of anti-terrorism operations during Ramzan. Do you think that Governor's Rule will be in the best interest of the state? It is the view of the BJP that we should have a spell of Governor's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, so that the four-pronged approach initiated by our government can be taken forward more effectively. Governor's Rule shouldn't be seen only from a military perspective, although one of the dimensions of our approach is to actively pursue the terrorists and neutralise them down to the last ones. We are also keen that all the different sections of Kashmiri society be engaged in talks, for which an interlocutor has been appointed by the Union home ministry. There is a great need for kick-starting developmental activity. The Government of India has extended a Rs 80,000 crore developmental package for the state. A big part of this is yet to be utilised. During the Governor's Rule, we hope proactive measures will be taken on all these fronts. There is speculation about violence during the Amarnath Yatra. Do you think that the yatra will take place incident-free under Governor's rule? Absolutely. The government is making all the necessary security arrangements to ensure that the yatra passes off peacefully. Just before the suspension of anti-terror operations during Ramzan, security forces were eliminating the terrorists at a very fast pace. Did the PDP play an important role in this decision? The suspension of operations during the month of Ramzan was a suggestion given by the state government. After due deliberations, the Union home ministry announced it for the month of Ramzan. This decision was taken by the government from a position of strength as a goodwill gesture towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The intention was that the people should be able to perform their religious obligations in a pious and peaceful atmosphere. I would be candid in saying that while people did enjoy a peaceful Ramzan, terrorists and their supporters tried to exploit the situation. A number of killings of innocent people by the terrorists happened during Ramzan. Fundamental rights, such as the right to life and right to free speech, came under severe threat. That is why the home ministry has decided not to extend the suspension of operations beyond Ramzan. Can you specify something which the Union government will be able to do under Governor's Rule, which the BJP-PDP coalition government wasn't able to do, due to the PDP? The 4-pronged approach involved - -Neutralising terrorists -Legally challenging their overground supporters -Engaging with different sections of the society, including groups like Hurriyat -Aggressively working on developmental projects. This was expected to be pursued by the government. This required an active political agenda like local body elections, and widespread political activity in the state. Unfortunately, our partner in the government was found wanting on this front severely. We increasingly came to believe that certain local political considerations were weighing highly on our partner, thus leading to an increased mismatch between the two parties. It must be remembered that we have abandoned the government because of the above reasons, but we have not abandoned the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Under Governor's Rule the four-pronged approach that I mentioned above will be taken forward. The priority of the government now will be to counter terrorist operations, as is largely believed. Will the government also be exploring the option of talks? I already answered the question. If you specifically want to ask about talks, in a democracy, talking to various stakeholders is an important responsibility of the government. Under the Governor's Rule, also this agenda will be pursued. Do you think that the government will now be able to focus more on issues such as resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley and abrogation of Article 370? Resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits is an important item on our agenda. We pursued this during the tenure of our government and we will pursue it under Governor's Rule also. Other than increased security and counter-insurgency ops, what non-combat options are available? Will there be an outreach of sorts? As I said, engagement for dialogue through the interlocutor and others is an important medium. Besides, developmental activity is in itself a big healer. It has the potential to address the alienation being felt by the sections of the Kashmiri society.