As the BJP-PDP government in Kashmir comes under attack from within the Sangh Parivar and opposition parties, Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of the BJP, says security forces are winning the war against terror in the Valley.
ThePrint: Were there any vulnerabilities in the security system that made this attack possible?
Ram Madhav: There have been several attacks on the security forces guarding the Amarnath yatra in the last decade. The security forces have been successful in protecting the yatris all these years. But the terrorists have to be lucky only once. The security forces have to be successful hundreds of times, every time. You cannot call it a security lapse. We will be more careful in the coming weeks during the yatra. We will do what we can within the gambit of UAPA.
ThePrint: But some of your own Parivar members are attacking the state government and the PDP-BJP partnership.
Ram Madhav: We are open to criticism. It was a dastardly attack. People will be angry. We are answerable, we are accountable.
ThePrint: The government had in the last few months used a tough approach in Kashmir. You have spoken about neutralizing the last terrorist…
Ram Madhav: We have been going after the terrorists in a big way. This attack on pilgrims is a sign of the frustration in their ranks. They are feeling the pressure. It is out of this pressure that they carried out this attack, an attack that even their mentors and sympathisers in the Hurriyat were forced to condemn. There is tremendous pressure on the terrorists in the valley, especially south Kashmir. That is why they are choosing soft targets like pilgrims now. In the last 6 months, more than 100 have been killed. I will say again that the last terrorist will be flushed out. That harsh campaign will continue.
ThePrint: The attack happened even though there was an intelligence alert about an impending attack on the yatris?
Ram Madhav: Yes, there was an alert that there is a possibility of an attack in the district. But a few pilgrims have violated the security guidelines we have put in place – of traveling without security, outside the security convoy and after dark. But then, there are other normal commuting that is taking place all the time, even after dark by the private vehicles that are not yatra vehicles. Our duty is to provide security to private and yatra vehicles both, not just the latter.
ThePrint: What is the future of the PDP-BJP coalition in the state?
Ram Madhav: The PDP and the BJP are on the same page as far as taking additional security measures for the yatra is concerned. The Amarnath Yatra is managed by the committee headed by the governor. The state and the central government provide the necessary security cover. The state government is implementing its duty well.