Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 15
Political leaders who are under preventive detention in Jammu and Kashmir will be released soon, said BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav here on Sunday.
He was speaking at a session on “Article 370 and the Death-Knell of Terrorism” during Military Literature Festival in the city.
On the detention of former J&K chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, Madhav said: “They will soon come out. It will not be like the case of Sheikh Abdullah, who was kept in jail for over 10 years.... Our friend Sajad Lone is in detention too…. Preventive detention doesn’t make one an ‘anti-national’.”
“We want political activity to resume. Recently, panchayat elections and block development council elections took place,” he said, adding that the BJP would want statehood for J&K and would welcome other parties raising that demand.
After abrogating Article 370, the Central Government had reorganised Jammu and Kashmir state into two UTs — J&K and Ladakh — on October 31. On initiating dialogue for resolving the Kashmir dispute, Madhav said: “Holding talks cannot be a one-way street. Some are not ready for talks. For them, we need to use different measures.”
He, however, assured that the government didn’t have any plans to change the demography of J&K.
Defending Article 370, he said: “We have been told that people were not consulted before the abrogation. Were people consulted when Article 370 was inserted? It was a deal struck between Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru. It was inserted in the most undemocratic manner, but it was removed in the most democratic manner.”
AS Dulat, former RAW chief, speaking at the session, remarked that Kashmir was numb since August 5, when Article 370 was abrogated. Kashmiris had been disappointed with Delhi for long but this time they felt that people of India had forsaken them too, he said, adding that it was far from the truth that they wanted “azaadi” or wanted to go with Pakistan. “They just desire peace with honour,” he asserted.
Senior journalist and security expert Manoj Joshi said if the government thought that abrogation of Article 370 was a magic bullet then it was dreaming. “Why did it bifurcate the state without consultation with people? Because it is a Muslim-majority state? A due process is at the heart of democracy. In case of Kashmir, there was no due process.” He further said, “Why imprison politicians like Farooq Abdullah? He stood rock solid with India. Now there is no one to hold India’s flag in Kashmir.”
Sri Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari termed the abrogation of Article 370 as unconstitutional and added that it had only demolished the mainstream politics in the state.
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