BJP alienating Kashmiris by raising Amarnath issue: Deve Gowda

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New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) Charging the BJP with attempts to communalise the land allotment to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board through its nationwide protests from August 11, Janata Dal (Secular) President and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda today said it would only alienate the people of Kashmir from the country.

In a statement, Mr Gowda said, ''The previous coalition in Jammu and Kashmir had messed up the land allotment issue, and communalising it in the rest of the country would only help the neighbouring country which so far has failed to win over the Kashmiri people with its efforts all these years.'' He said the saga of Amarnath cave shrine itself was a great symbol of communal harmony as the shrine was discovered by local Muslims and has been preserved and protected all these years.

The JD(S), he said, was in favour of providing all facilities to the pilgrims and even the local Kashmiris had no objections.

However, the BJP was playing its ''dirty game'' at the cost of the nation's unity and integrity.

The BJP was using Jammu people for furthering its stake in its 'vote bank' ahead of elections in several state assemblies and the Lok Sabha, the leader charged.

Contending that he was a 'born Shaivite', he said, ''Hindus were known for their tolerance. They were not deprived of any land. The land allotted to them on paper had been taken back.'' ''I don't think any true Hindu will wrest back the land at the cost of national unity and integrity,'' the former Prime Minister said.

Alleging that the BJP, once a two-MP-party, had risen its status as the leader of the coalition by taking up the 'Ram Janma Bhoomi' issue and tearing apart the social fabric, he said once in power it had put the issue on the back burner.

''Now the Sangh Pariwar raises the issue only ahead of elections,'' Mr Gowda charged, adding that same was the case of other contentious issues like Uniform Civil Code and Abrogation of Article 370 of Constitution.

Accusing the BJP of attempting to stoke communal passion yet again on the Ram Setu issue, he said people had realised the game plan and hence, the movement had ''fizzled out''. Its mission to cash in on the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya too had failed miserably, he noted.

The ''rank opportunism'' of the BJP was evident when the party abandoned the 'Hindutva' issue and the party's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani sought to project himself as a secular leader by pronouncing Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah as a secular leader.

The RSS removed Mr Advani from the party post but nominated him to be BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate. ''Whom are they fooling?'' Mr Gowda asked.

Turning to Karnataka, the JD(S) chief said the BJP and its 'pariwar' friends had whipped up communal passion in Hubli and Baba Budangiri but the people had not fallen for their bait. However, the division of secular votes and manipulation of popular mandate had brought the party to power in the state, he said.

He alleged, ''A Cabinet Minister of this Hindu-minded party had blasted an ancient temple in Andhra-Karnataka border to clear his way for illegal mining activities.

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