New Delhi, Aug 12 (UNI) Describing as 'unfortunate' the killing of protestors in army firing when they attempted to open the Muzaffarabad route to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the BJP held the Centre and the State government responsible for the present situation.
The party, however, asserted that there was no blockade of transport from Srinagar to Jammu as given out by the protestors to justify their demand for opening the border for taking their truck-loads of fruits and vegetables to Muzaffarabad for sale.
"There had been about 700 trucks stranded there. Of which 300 to 400 trucks had been allowed to reach Jammu today under army umbrella. The remaining 300 trucks were allowed by the separatist elements who were behind the violence in Kashmir, party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
He maintained there had been trouble in Kashmir several times earlier also but never did the people of Jammu resort to any kind of blockade. It was a disinformation campaign launched by separatists about the so-called blockade, he claimed.
Reiterating that the dialogue was the only option to break the stalemate over the Amarnath land issue, he said, had the Centre opened the dialogue with the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board on the land row earlier, the situation would have not have come to such a pass.
The party maintained that the Centre and the state government surrendered before the separatist forces and bungled on the land issue.Land was allotted by the government on the recommendations of the Nitish Sen Gupta committee constituted after the Amarnath tragedy in 1996 which stipulated a Shrine Board be set up and land allotted to it to make temporary arrangements for the Amarnath yatris.
"The government must not bow before the secessionist forces and restore land to the Shrine. The matter could be resolved through a dialogue and normalcy established," Mr Prasad said.
The party also clarified that it was not against opening of the border for Muzaffarabad but the time was not right for it as it would give the impression that the government surrendered before the anti-national elements.
UNI KAS/MCN AM KP1738