Upping the ante against the UPA government's handling of the current crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday accused the Central and State governments of being completely devoid of any vision on how to deal with the situation.
Stating that the Jammu and Kashmir government had completely collapsed, the BJP termed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah “a complete failure” and sought his immediate replacement.
In a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the party's Core Group comprising L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, S.S. Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad, the BJP cautioned the Centre that this was not the time for appeasement or vote bank politics.
“This is a time for action. The government should not under any circumstance consider lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act [AFSPA] from any disturbed district of the State. The security environment must be strengthened; miscreants must feel scared and should not be allowed to call the shots. If the government does not realise this, the challenges before the Indian State will worsen,” the statement said.
It added that the last three months had seen a sudden worsening of the situation in the Valley, with separatist groups supported from across the border having engineered an environment of violence and terror.
Taking a dig at Mr. Abdullah, the BJP said an unpopular Chief Minister suffered complete alienation from his people, and that it was time for him to be replaced by a more acceptable person.
Referring to the continued demonstrations and marches across the Valley, the party said the myth that these were peaceful protesters out to make a political statement was shattered during Eid.
“Mobs were let loose in the Valley and attempted to threaten public property and human life. The government has completely collapsed. It failed to realise that mobs cannot be allowed to congregate in order to foment trouble,” the party said.
The statement said: “The stratagem of the separatists is clear: they want to push the Central government to loosen the political relationship between India and the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Once the government loses this battle of nerves, the separatists will reject the concessions granted by the Union government and move to the next stage till they realise their declared object of ‘azadi.'
“Warning on AFSPA”
A day before the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the Kashmir situation, the BJP warned the Centre that any move to dilute the AFSPA would demoralise the forces.
“The BJP would like to warn the government that any attempt to weaken the AFSPA is unacceptable. No attempt should be made under political pressure to compromise the morale of the security forces who sacrificed their lives while fighting terrorists and ensuring security,” BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
Mr. Prasad said the Centre should give due importance to the assessment of the security forces and reject ad hoc assessments based primarily on political considerations.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been pressing the Centre to withdraw the Act from some areas of the State.
The situation in the Valley had turned critical, Mr. Prasad said, and the BJP saw a pattern in the violence “orchestrated” by Inter-Services Intelligence-backed handlers from across the border.
Mr. Prasad deplored the absence of Mr. Abdullah from the State on Eid when a fresh bout of violence rocked the Valley. “It is indeed unfortunate and regrettable that the Chief Minister, instead of controlling the violence in Srinagar, chose to spend time in Delhi.”
Mr. Prasad said the real face of the separatists and the Hurriyat emerged on Eid when government buildings were torched.