Scope for mainstream political parties in Kashmir: Jaitley

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New Delhi, Aug 25 (UNI) Accusing the Centre of showing lack of interest in correcting the past mistakes in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said there was still a space for mainstream political parties in the Kashmir valley, if the government displayed right political will and saved the situation.

Mr Jaitley was addressing members of the Delhi Study Group on the problems in Jammu and Kashmir on the Amarnath land row.

He said the Kashmir-based National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah was harping on ''autonomy and taking the clock back to 1953 in the state,'' and the PDP led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed spoke of ''self-rule and dual currency.'' An unsaid agenda of the two parties was to take the state to 'dual sovereignty' at a time, when the country would have no control over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The irony was that both these parties were part of the UPA and had bailed out the UPA Goverment in the July 22 confidence vote.

Spelling out his logic for his premise that there was scope for mainstream parties -- the Congress and BJP, he said the claim of 'Kashmiriyat' no longer held water because the Hindu pundits and Sikhs had been driven out of the valley on the religious ground by fundamentalists and separatist elements and none would take their 'Kashmiriyat' claim as it had lost its secular credentials seriously.

The global politics too had changed drasitically after the twin tower blasts on September 11, 2001 and no claims of the fundamentalists, who believed in violence would be taken seriously.

''All that the government should do is take a decision and uphold the rule of law and constitution and allot the land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. By doing this, the government will only be upholding the order of the Judiciary and the law passed by the State Assembly and none could find fault with this process,'' he said.

Accusing the UPA government of not speaking to Nationalist forces of the Jammu region for 50 long days, who were voicing their anger at the denial of development, educational and job opportunities at the hands of Kashmiri politicians, he said the government was afraid of angering the separatists, who were out on the streets with Pakistan flags. The government is no longer satisfied with its 'simple appeasement policy' -- being soft on terror but is going a step further. ''They want to be soft on separatists,'' he alleged.

He said the policy of bringing in Jammu and Kashmir into Indian union through a 'loose arrangement' by fromer prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru with a fond hope that it would fructify into a 'firm association', with the passage of time had been belied. The Centre instead of correcting the mistakes of the past was just perpetuating it to the detriment of the country, he alleged.

''When the history takes stock into the handling of the state, they are bound to be cruel on Nehruvian policy and would approve of integration of the border state on the basis of equality abrogating the special status,'' he said.

Mr Jaitley said the separatists were operating in the Kashmir valley spreading twin falsehoods -- bringing in Hindu settlers in the guise of Amarnath pilgrims and economic blockade.

The Centre was not willing to counter these lies promptly and effectively only to appease the separatist elements, he alleged.

UNI MCN LPB VC2045

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