Ally BJP slams CM Mehbooba's call for ceasefire; says govt "soft" on stone pelters
Fissures surfaced within Jammu and Kashmir's ruling alliance on Thursday as the BJP dubbed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's call for a unilateral ceasefire as a move not at all in "national interest" while also slamming the state government's "soft policy" on stone pelters.
The BJP's state unit fielded two spokespersons, Sunil Sethi and Arun Gupta, who at a press conference here said a unilateral, ceasefire as suggested by the chief minister, would only serve to ease pressure on militants and allow them to re-energise.
Referring to an all party meeting held on Wednesday, Sethi said an opinion had come up during discussion for a unilateral ceasefire, on the lines of the one declared by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, but there was no consensus.
"We have a strong view...Unilateral ceasefire in the present situation is not in national interest at all," Sethi, who was present at the all party meeting, asserted.
The BJP spokespersons described the situation in the Kashmir Valley as "very serious" and said the soft policy of the Mehbooba Mufti government was responsible for it.
"Security situations is very serious...in Kashmir, stone pelting is continuously on and unfortunately one tourist has lost his life," he said.
There was no statement from the BJP clarifying the party's stand yesterday when Mehbooba Mufti, who leads the PDP-BJP dispensation, announced that the all party meeting, called for discussing the situation in the state, would be requesting the Centre to declare a unilateral ceasefire.
At the press conference today, Sethi said issues on how to control the situation in Valley were debated.
"Our point of view was clear that soft policy of government was responsible for emergence of (current) situation", the BJP leader said.
Sethi said the way the government was dealing with stone-pelters by providing them amnesty, was causing more damage.
"There is no benefit of the amnesty scheme. The results of the amnesty schemes are totally opposite to what the government had expected", he said, adding the BJP's stand was clear that the state government should stop being soft on stone pelters.
On the ceasefire issue, the BJP leaders said large scale casualties of militants were taking place on a daily basis and they were under pressure.
"The raising of the demand for a unilateral ceasefire is aimed to give a way out to the demoralised militants, ease pressure, and to save them," Sethi alleged.
Mehbooba Mufti had said Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire starting from Ramzan in mid May till the completion of the Amarnath Yatra in August.
The two spokespersons, however, said there was no debate on the issue and the BJP did not agree to it.
Terming "stone pelters of today as potential terrorists of tomorrow", they said "we will not agree are buy any argument that the hands of army should be tied." They also denied that there was any consensus on sending an all party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprise him about the situation in the state.
There was no consensus among the political parties of to set up a group and meet the Prime Minister.
"Chief Minister raked up the issue of formation of group and meeting the Prime Minister six times. National Conference conveyed that they will consult their leadership to take a decision on it later," he said.