Srinagar: BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav Sunday launched a scathing attack on separatist leaders as well as those from Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.
Madhav and a delegation of senior BJP leaders visited the union territory to offer condolences to the family of the party’s local leader Wasim Bari and his father and his younger brother, who were killed by militants in north Kashmir’s Bandipora last week, and then attend a condolence meeting at Srinagar’s Tagore Hall. The delegation included Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and Udhampur MP Dr Jitendra Singh, BJP national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna and J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina.
The killings were followed by militant threats asking people to dissociate from the BJP. Local leaders told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity that one of the reasons for the senior leaders’ visit was to boost the morale of the cadres.
Party leader Sofi Yousuf, meanwhile, told the gathering that over 150 local leaders from the BJP, including many who hold panch and sarpanch posts at the village level, have been put under police protection.
‘We don’t want politics of terror’
Madhav told the gathering that the BJP had always hoped that the blood of patriotic people would not be spilled in Kashmir.
“This has to end. We don’t want politics of terror. And we have two ways to end it. Either all our cadres and members lower the flag and sit at their homes. However, I can say that this will never happen,” Ram Madhav said.
“People who kill and those who get people killed need to understand that the martyrdom of Wasim Bari will bring forth 1,000 workers. There will always be people who will stand for the flag of India. People who get exported by Pakistan — those who have committed this act (murder) — will have to be given an answer,” he said.
Madhav then launched a scathing attack against separatist leaders without naming them.
“There is a section in this society which gives support to violence and is the reason for miseries of people of Kashmir. They should be taught a lesson. If you have resigned from Hurriyat, does that mean your sins will be washed away? No,” he said, taking a swipe at Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who recently resigned from the All Party Hurriyat Conference.
“These people had been using Article 370 to run anti-national activities, support terrorism and mislead children. That is why we removed Article 370, so that people who want peace get peace. We also tell them to come and do politics; why do they kill?”
Training his guns directly at the NC and the PDP, Madhav said they never came forward to condemn the killing of the BJP leaders.
“When an innocent child is killed, they engage in propaganda. Propaganda does not only happen in Pakistan but by its advocates in the Kashmir Valley too. To deal with these elements is also important. I am saddened by saying that politicians of this Valley should have come forward,” he said.
Political activity in the Valley had taken a major hit after scores of politicians were detained ahead of scrapping of Article 370 last year. Some politicians who were released after detention have been kept under house arrest. But for those who have been released completely, the Covid-19 lockdown has hit their prospects of re-initiating political activity in the Valley. Madhav accused them of deliberately staying at home.
“Go to the people and demand restoration of Article 370, argue for it. Our stand is that 370 was bad for J&K and that’s why we removed it, but you can say how it was useful. This is politics. What is happening here instead is that some people are either using this issue to support terrorism and getting people killed, while others continue to mourn at home,” he said.
“We thought that there will be a mourning of 10-15 days after the death of Article 370 but it has been a year and these people are still mourning. They don’t come out of their homes. All political leaders of J&K are free. Someone is in Delhi and someone is in Kashmir, who only tweets. What does it mean to do politics? It means to go to people and bring up their issues. Are you doing that? No. Where have NC and PDP disappeared?” Madhav continued.
“They have developed a habit of being in power, of looting by using Article 370. They don’t want to work hard for people so they are making excuses.”
Madhav also thanked the people of Kashmir for not protesting against the scrapping of Article 370, and instead “deciding to experience life without the article” that gave J&K its special status.
Minister’s emotional speech
Union minister Jitendra Singh, meanwhile, gave a sombre speech and asked BJP members to introspect on what kind of society they would want to live in.
“It will take some time for Wasim Bari’s children to understand what happened to their father. Then they will ask questions about why their father had to undergo this. And the answer to this question should be one which is above ideological differences,” a visibly emotional Singh said.
“Go home and for two minutes, think of the children and the widow, forget which political party they belong to. Think what kind of society we want to live in. Today, it is the children of Wasim who suffered, tomorrow it can be anyone else’s.”
BJP vice-president Khanna, meanwhile, hit out at other parties for not speaking out aggressively against the killing of BJP leaders.
“Wasim Bari has been killed because he raised the slogan for Bharat Mata, and not Pakistan zindabad. Yet, there has not been a single word of condemnation (by other political parties). What message are they trying to send out?” he said.