Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday condemned the ‘targeted’ killing of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir Valley and warned Pakistan to stop supporting terrorism in India even as the slammed the BJP-led central government for mishandling the issue.
Addressing a ‘Jan Akrosh’ rally at Jantar Mantar, Kejriwal said Kashmiri Pandits are being forced to leave the Valley due to the targeted killings of the minority community, and added that this shows that the BJP cannot handle Kashmir and it only knows how to do dirty politics.
“The era of 1990 has come again. They (government) don’t have any plan. Whenever a killing takes place in Kashmir, it is said that the Union home minister is holding a high-level meeting. But where is the action plan? What is the plan? Kashmir wants an action plan. Yesterday, I saw that a three-hour-long high-level meeting was held. There have been too many meetings. Please take some action on the ground. People are dying,” Kejriwal said.
The security of Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley was discussed at a high-level meeting in Delhi on Friday that was chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah, who took stock of the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, according to officials.National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, and Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha were among those who attended the meeting.
At least 12 civilians – of which six were local Muslims, four were Hindus from the Valley, including one Kashmiri pandit, and two non-locals— besides five security personnel have been killed by unidentified militants in the Valley since March. Many members from the migrant and Pandit communities said they feared for their lives and a return to the 90s, when many Pandit families were forced to flee their homes under the shadow of terror. Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit employees deputed in the Valley under the Prime Minister’s package for the rehabilitation of the community in 2008 have been boycotting work and holding sit-in protests across Kashmir.
The rally at Jantar Mantar was organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to protest against the spate of violence against the Pandits.
Kejriwal said that the BJP has no plan to stop the killings. “With all the bloodshed that has happened in the recent past it has become clear that the BJP has no plan to stop this genocide. They have no plan to combat terrorism. In the last 30 years, these two periods of the BJP being in power have seen Kashmiri Pandits being forced into an exodus while these champions of internal security have done nothing. Why is it that Kashmiri Pandits have to flee their homeland whenever BJP comes to power? It seems like the BJP is not competent enough to take care of Kashmir. Either their interests lie in some adverse situation or they have no clue about governance,” Kejriwal said.
The BJP, however, hit back at the Delhi chief minister, saying he was only playing politics over a sensitive issue. Information and Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said, “At a time when the entire country is standing in solidarity with Kashmir, and condemning terrorist activities in one voice, Kejriwal has nothing to say against the terrorists and separatists. No government has been able to do for Kashmir what the BJP government has done in just eight years of its rule,” Thakur said.
Continuing his attack on the BJP, the Delhi chief minister put foth four demands from the Centre — draw an action plan on stopping the killings, cancel the bonds [allegedly signed by government staff], accept all demands of the Kashmiri Pandits and provide protection to the members of the community settled in the Valley.
“These people were made to sign bonds that they will have to forever work in Kashmir and if they seek a transfer they will be fired. The Kashmiri Pandits want this bond to be cancelled. When they sought transfers, the BJP government transferred 177 employees from one locality to another within Kashmir itself,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP national convener demanded the Centre make public its plan to deal with the situation in the Valley.
“The Centre should tell the public about its plan to tackle the situation in Kashmir, cancel the bond signed with Kashmiri Pandits that says they cannot work outside Kashmir, fulfil all their demands and provide them security,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal along with all those who attended the rally observed a two-minute silence to pay a tribute to those killed by terrorists in Kashmir.
“When Kashmiri Pandits raise their voice to protest the killings, they are locked inside their localities. Kashmiri Pandits only want security and nothing else,” Kejriwal said.
The AAP leader also warned Pakistan against exporting terror to India. “If you think you can take away Kashmir through these ploys, I warn you once again. Kashmir belonged to India. Kashmir belongs to India. And it will forever belong to India and its people,” Kejriwal said.
Slamming Kejriwal, Thakur said the AAP leader has no understanding of the issue. He said the development of Jammu and Kashmir is a priority for the Modi government. “No doubt, the recent events are unfortunate. But, under the Modi government, our army has been able to neutralise top militant commanders, and simultaneously unprecedented development and rehabilitation has taken place in the Valley. What has Arvind Kejriwal done for the Kashmiri Pandits in the Capital? Kejriwal questions surgical strike and air strike. He doesn’t acknowledge the massacre of Kashmiri Pandits,” the minister said in a statement.
Senior BJP leader Amit Malviya also hit out at Kejriwal and said the AAP leader should first make clear his stand on the issue. “Arvind Kejriwal, a political invertebrate, who till recently mocked genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, denied jobs to exiled Kashmiri Pandit’s, despite Court orders, in Delhi Govt schools, is now shedding tears for targeted killings in the valley.This is the power of patriotic votes,” Malviya tweeted.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the administration in the Jammu and Kashmir is not allowing Kashmiri Pandits to protest against the recent targeted killings in the Valley. Kejriwal was speaking at a protest held by the AAP at Jantar Mantar in the national capital against the Centre amid a spurt in targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir.
“When they (Kashmiri Pandits) protest against the targeted killings, the present BJP government in Kashmir does not allow them to protest. If the government behaves like this, the suffering of the people becomes double,” Kejriwal said, adding that the BJP government has failed in this.
Kejriwal said Kashmiri Pandits don’t want meetings by the Centre, but demand action now. “The era of 1990 has come again. They (government) don’t have any plan. Whenever there is a murder in the Valley, news comes that the home minister has called a high-level meeting, enough of these meetings, now we need action, Kashmir wants action,” the Delhi CM said.
Kejriwal also made four demands to the Centre over the targeted killings in the Valley – an action plan to stop such incidents, cancel bonds signed with Kashmiri Pandits that says they cannot work outside Kashmir, fulfill the demands of Kashmiri Pandits and provide them security.
Kejriwal also warned Pakistan to stop petty tactics. “Kashmir will always be part of India,” Kejriwal.
Jammu and Kashmir has seen a rise in the killing of civilians over the last few months – 13 people have been shot dead in three months. Union home minister Amit Shah, J&K Lt governor Manoj Singha, and NSA Ajit Doval held a high-level meeting on Friday over the matter.
Also speaking on the occasion, AAP MP Sanjay Singh alleged that the prime minister, home minister, all Union ministers and MPs were shedding crocodile tears in the name of The Kashmir Files film.
“Today, Kashmiri Pandits are being massacred. I want to ask Modi ji where are your ministers, MPs and MLAs hiding right now?” Singh said.