BJP, Modi responsible for ‘worsening’ Kashmir situation: Azad

GK report
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government for “worsening” the situation in Kashmir during its stint in power.
Addressing a party workers’ convention in Lolab, Kupwara, Azad said: “The situation in the Kashmir Valley had considerably improved when there was a Congress government at the Centre till 2014. The situation deteriorated after the came to power and created a situation like nineties in the Valley. If anyone is squarely responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Kashmir, it is the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
“Apart from PM, a party from Kashmir which entered into alliance with them (BJP) is also responsible for the worsening situation in the Valley. I told this party many times that it will be a mistake to join hands with the BJP because it (BJP) is abusing Kashmiris from the past many decades. But they still allied with them and the result is in front of you,” Azad said.
He said that when the Congress and National Conference were in coalition in the state and Congress was at the helm in New Delhi also, “we put an end to militancy and ensured a peaceful environment in the Valley”.
He said the Congress governments at the Centre “gave everything that the chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir sought for the state when they were in power”.
“The Congress government provided colleges, electricity and roads and never denied anything that the chief ministers from the state asked for,” he said.
“During my tenure as the J&K chief minister”, Azad said, “I remember around 40 flights would land at the Srinagar airport every day and they would be full of tourists. The people of Kashmir were happy during the Congress regime at the Centre. The tourists came in large numbers, which directly helped in raising the economy of Kashmir”.
He said a “new work culture was created in J&K when I was the chief minister. I made people work in double and triple shifts. The Hajj house in Srinagar was built in eight months and the first-ever tulip garden was completed in one-and-a-half years at just Rs four crore expenditure. The garden is bigger than mughal gardens”.
Azad said his government “made it a point that no Kashmiris dies at the hands of forces”.

“During my tenure, for the first time in the history of Kashmir, I ordered an inquiry when three street vendors from Lal Chowk were allegedly picked up and had gone missing”.
He said that during the course of inquiry, “it came out that on the same day (of missing of Lal Chowk trio), the Kashmir police claimed that they killed three Pakistani-based militants”.
“I asked for opening of their graves and after identification by their parents, it came out that the bodies were of the trio who had gone missing from Lal Chowk”.
Azad said the J&K police were “responsible for many atrocities” in the Valley.
“I salute those policemen who were killed in the line of duty. But there are some police personnel who killed innocent people to receive money and promotions,” he said.
Azad said during his tenure, “an illiterate person or a farmer or somebody else would join militancy, but today, doctors, engineers, professors, teachers, PG students are joining militancy and the Modi government is squarely responsible for creating an atmosphere in which people don’t have faith in the government”. “What is the reason for attacks on army camps during the regime of BJP?” Azad asked. “Modi wants to win Kashmir and hearts of people at gunpoint”.
“In democracy, no one can win the hearts of people at gunpoint,” he said.
Later, talking to media-persons on the sidelines of the workers’ meet, Azad said that Modi “should know how to control his tongue and think twice before speaking anything”.
“The poll manifesto of the Congress is very exclusive. We have never made such an exclusive manifesto in the last 35 years,” he said.
“The separate voices (sic) coming from Kashmir are all because of Modi and his failed Kashmir policy. Modi pushed Kashmiris to the wall and now the voices of dissent are coming from all quarters,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azad Wednesday alleged that the rule of Narendra Modi in India was a “dictatorship rule” and it was Mufti Sayeed’s “biggest mistake to join hands with Bharatiya Janata Party which has now pushed Jammu and Kashmir into 1990-era”.
He was addressing a public rally in Manjakote area of Rajouri district.
“The rule of Narendra Modi has been a dictatorship rule in the country. The Modi government got cases registered against all its political rivals,” he said.
“The Modi government tried to take credit of every work done by the country’s forces and scientists for its own political mileage,” Azad said.
He urged people to cast vote in favour of Congress candidate to ensure his win.
Allying with BJP was like taking poison: Mehbooba
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday claimed that she “never compromised her position” on Kashmir while her Peoples Democratic Party was in alliance with the BharaityaJanata Party in the state.
Addressing a workers’ convention in Inderkote village in Sumbal, Bandipora, the PDP president said: “It was not easy for us to form the government with the BJP. It was like taking poison, but we did it only for Kashmiris and late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed asked the BJP to first formulate the ‘agenda of alliance’ before formalising the tie-up”.
“When Mufti Sayeed joined hands with the BJP, he took two months to sign the ‘agenda of alliance’ and only then he formed the government in the state with the support of BJP. He later addressed a press conference where he thanked Pakistan and the separatist leadership for not interfering in the elections, which is true,” Mehbooba said.
She said the entire India “went against Mufti Sayeed, but he didn’t change his stance because he thought that as long as relations with Pakistan won’t be good, the situation in Kashmir will not get better”.
“In the ‘agenda of alliance’, it was written that out of seven power projects, two have to be given back to the state, while Kargil-Skardu, Jammu-Sialkot and all other (traditional) roads connecting Jammu and Kashmir with other countries have to be opened. When all these things were agreed upon by the BJP in the ‘agenda of alliance’, only then Mufti Sayeed formed the government with them,” she said.
Mehbooba said that even former prime minister late AtalBihari Vajpayee had said that as long as they don’t have a dialogue with Pakistan and the Hurriyat, Kashmir issue cannot be resolved.
“I never compromised my position. I made two BJP ministers to resign when the Kathua rape case happened. I made every effort to protect the Article 35-A. I even told the PM and the home minister that if they tinker with Article 35-A, I will pull out of the alliance. Not only this, I even told them that if they try to abolish it, nobody in Kashmir would give a shoulder to the tricolor,” she said.
Mehbooba said she reminded the BJP yesterday also about her party’s position on Article 370 when ArunJaitley said that the Article is a “hindrance” in J&K’s development.
“The Article is not a hindrance but a bridge and if they try to break it, we too—who have held Indian flag in our hands in Kashmir—might have to think what to do and where to go,” she said.
“Separatists have nothing to do with Article 370, they want freedom. They don’t accept the constitution but the parties which accept the constitution—be it PDP or NC—have to rethink if the BJP tries to tinker with Article 370. We will have to think then what relation we have with this country. We have been given this Article by the Indian constitution and if they want to tinker with it, then nothing would remain (between J&K and Delhi)”. “We take the oath first by the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and then by the Indian constitution, but when they (BJP) will sacrifice our constitution, what will we have to do with the Indian constitution then? So we should get united to save our special status”.
Meanwhile, quoting Mehbooba, a PDP spokesperson said in a statement: “The undemocratic measures taken by the central government are pushing the people of the state into a corner. The government of India must stop this muscular policy and understand that dialogue is the only way forward”.
“It was the agenda of the PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed that accorded a sigh of relief to the people of the state after the 2002 elections,” Mehbooba said, according to the statement, while addressing workers’ conventions in Pattan and Sonawari.
“Prior to that, dialogue with Pakistan, reconciliatory approach and pitching for peace used to be considered as a taboo within the political landscape. It was Mufti Sayeed who initiated an era of reconciliation in Jammu and Kashmir and laid foundation of the ideology that declares that the state must become a bridge of friendship between India and Pakistan,” she said. “The previous coalition of the PDP and BJP was dictated by the numbers of the election results in which both the parties were at par and forming coalition was a brave attempt to engage with the ‘New India’ which is dominated by the Hindutva forces. The PDP successfully resisted for four long years the policies of the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir and it has now become visible how the BJP is trying to divide the state, divide communities and undermine the vital institutions of the state,” Mehbooba said, according to the statement. “One could imagine at present what havoc would the BJP have created if it would have been left alone after the 2014 polls”.
“The PDP president also expressed serious concern over the prevailing situation in the state and said that the repressive measures and iron-fist approach are being rigorously implemented, with common masses threatened, intimated and harassed by the government at large,” the PDP statement read, adding: “PDP’s stand vis-à-vis banning the socio-political and religious organisationJamaat-e- Islami is that it is an undemocratic and unconstitutional measure and an attempt to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims”.

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