Vajpayee was pulled back by BJP leaders from Kashmir solution: Azad

India losing Kashmir: PDP MP

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 3: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad said today that former Prime Minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken initiatives on Kashmir and even people of the Valley had started trusting him but “some elements within the BJP’’ pulled him back.
Azad stated this while initiating discussion on Statutory Resolution on imposition of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir in the Rajya Sabha.
“(Atal Bihari) Vajpayee did take some initiatives on Kashmir. Kashmir people had started trusting him. He even went to Pakistan. But due to ‘internal contradictions within the party (BJP)’, some (of the party leaders) pulled him back,’’ Azad said.
“Had Vajpayee got party’s support, he might have worked out solution to Kashmir,’’ Azad said, adding that Congress also made a lot of efforts in this direction (in finding a solution to Kashmir) but didn’t publicize the measures.
Blaming the previous PDP-BJP Government in the State for the present worst law and order situation in the State, Azad said the policies of the Central Government and that of BJP’s previous coalition Government in the State with the PDP had caused the alienation of Kashmiris.
He said, the policies of previous BJP-PDP Government in the State and the NDA Government at the Centre have led to an increase in militancy.
“Today, if a policeman goes on leave he is advised not to go to his home. It is because of the worsening of law and order in the State. Where a security personnel will go if he doesn’t visit his house on leave”?, Azad asked.
“The security situation has worsened. Tourism is at its lowest. There is total alienation of the people in the State. When an educated person like a PhD takes to militancy, it says something about the functioning of the Government at the Centre,’’ he said.
Noting that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had supported the Indian Government to fight Pakistani raiders immediately after the Independence, Azad said, “the fact that Kashmiris supported the efforts of the Indian Government despite the majority of them being Muslims shows they were Indians.
“If these very people are today angry with the Central Government, it showed that mistakes have been committed by this Government.”
Azad said that in order to bring Kashmiri people into the mainstream, the Government at the Centre needed to be accommodative towards them.
“The previous UPA Government had been accommodative towards the aspirations of the Kashmiris, which was often described as ‘appeasement’. Many of the Kashmiris still consider India as their country,’’ he said.
Calling Kashmiri Pandits as part of the culture of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Kashmiri Pandits as well as Kashmiri Muslims have one blood.
However, they had to flee the State after the militancy in 1989. Kashmir is incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits.
“The Manmohan Singh Government stepped up efforts for development in Jammu and Kashmir. During the rule of the UPA, train services were started in Kashmir. Roads were also built under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Tourism was at its climax during the UPA rule,’’ he said. He, however, lamented that the BJP-PDP resulted in undoing the efforts done by the previous UPA Government.
“The maximum number of ceasefire violations and infiltration happened during the rule of the previous BJP-PDP Government in the State. He also charged the BJP of indulging in horse trading after the imposition of Governor’s rule in the State.
“In the fourth month period after the imposition of Governor rule, the BJP indulged in horse trading. However, the moment, it got wind of efforts by National Conference, PDP and the Congress planning to come together for forming a Government in the State, they dissolved the State Assembly,” he said. He also charged the NDA Government of bringing 55 amendments in laws of the State during the Governor’s rule.
Azad attacked the BJP, accusing it of destabilizing the Government in Jammu and Kashmir and trying to break National Conference (NC), PDP and Congress.
Azad said: “You made the government with fanfare in Jammu & Kashmir but BJP withdrew from it.
Azad further said: “We are secular forces. We want to have Kashmir with India. You withdrew security in the State and made them soft target (for militants)”.
He, however, supported the resolution moved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, to approve proclamation issued by the President on December 19, 2018 under Article 356 of the Constitution of India in relation to Jammu & Kashmir.
The Resolution has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on December 28, 2018.
He said there were maximum number of cease fire violations during the last four years and a large number of people as well as animals were killed due to shelling.
“We had given you a Kashmir which was known for communal harmony and development. But it not the same,” he said.
Azad also accused Government of not creating enough employment opportunities in the state and said this led to youth who were trained as doctors, engineers and PhD holders, to join militancy.
PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Mir Mohammad Fayaz said Kashmir was going away from India though the Government continued to call it an integral part of the country.
Fayaz quoted BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Singh also as saying that Kashmir is going away.
“But if I will say this (that Kashmir is going away), I will be dubbed as anti-national,’’ he said.
The PDP Rajya Sabha member wanted to know what happened to the report of All Party Delegation, led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which held discussions for four hours in Kashmir. “What happened to the Working Groups set up by the Congress Government. Was Parliament informed about their reports’’? he asked.
Referring to change of names of some cities by the BJP Government, Fayaz said if the trend didn’t stop, they will demand renaming of Srinagar as Makhdoom Saheb.
He wanted to know whether there was competition between the two political parties (BJP and Congress) on how many Kashmiris they would kill.
Peaking on the debate, Derek O’ Brien (TMC) attacked the BJP saying “nationalism is not the copy right of one party… you pretend to be nationalist…Ultra nationalist…Then heal Kashmir” and said that in actuality it may be “anti-national”.
He said the government should not turn Kashmir into a “hell” from being a “paradise” and said the institutions in the country were being ruined one after the other be it “ CBI, RBI, Parliament or its panels”.
He said there was a tendency to leave out Ladakh and Leh in discussions on Jammu and Kashmir.
He sought an assurance from the Government that elections in the State will be held either now or with LS elections.
He also took a jibe at the Government saying it was a peculiar situation where despite Defence Minister’s presence in Lok Sabha, Finance Minister “replied” on Defence issues and here in Rajya Sabha despite Home Minister’s presence, Finance Minister was speaking on Home Ministry issues.
Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said government should refrain from the propaganda of “surgical strike” and keep country’s interest paramount.
A Navaneethakrisnan (AIADMK) demanded that the Presidential proclamation should be revoked at the earliest.
Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) said parties should rise above petty party politics.
T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) wanted to know whether the government was ordering any enquiry into the death of civilians in the state in the last three years by a sitting Supreme Court Judge.
Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) said of late the definition of patriotism was being changed and wondered if NSA would take political decisions.
D Raja (CPI) said imposition of Article 356 was unconstitutional on part of the Centre and should have been invoked in extraordinary circumstances.