Four days after the BJP walked out of the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, Amit Shah accused the government of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of “discriminating” against Jammu and Ladakh, and alleged that her and National Conference chief Omar Abdullah’s families had accumulated wealth at the cost of the state’s people.
Their “personal wealth” equals that of “the entire state”, the BJP president said in Jammu, while addressing a rally to commemorate the “historic martyrdom anniversary” of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee. He also attacked the Congress and its senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz for allegedly echoing the line of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the time the BJP was in a coalition with the PDP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the state over a dozen times, and the Centre had given it an economic package of Rs 80,000 crore, Shah said. But even though the BJP had “repeatedly exerted pressure for equitable development (of the state), that dream did not come true”, he said. Also, “peace could not be restored, and a time came when (Army) Rifleman Aurangzeb and (Rising Kashmir) editor Shujaat Bukhari were brutally killed by terrorists.”
Shah alleged that “while on the one hand pressure groups did not allow the government to function, on the other, discrimination continued with Jammu and Ladakh in matters of development”. The projects meant for these regions were not implemented on the ground by the state government, he said.
“Woh sarkar kaise chal sakti hai jismey Aurangzeb ko ghar se agwa kar ke maar diya jaye… ek editor ko agwa kar ke mar diya jaye (How can a government on whose watch Aurangzeb and an editor are killed, continue?),” he asked. “Woh sarkar kaise chal sakti hai jo Jammu aur Ladakh ka development na hone de (How can a government that does not allow the development of Jammu and Ladakh, continue)?”
Modi, Shah said, had tried to do in four years what successive governments could not do in 70. He had given 63 major projects and a package of Rs 80,000 crore, of which Rs 61,000 crore had been released, Shah said. But the state government had failed with the implementation, he alleged.
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“Modi sarkar ne Jammu aur Srinagar dono ko AIIMS diya, lekin PDP sarkar ne Jammu mein AIIMS ke liye bhoomi acquire nahin ki jiske kaaran is par Jammu mein kaam shuru nahin ho paya (Modi’s government announced AIIMSes for both Jammu and Kashmir, but the PDP government did not acquire land in Jammu),” Shah said.
“An IIM was given to Jammu, but the government started its session in a lackadaisical manner, as a result of which students are going to suffer.”
Shah also alleged that the state government had delayed the Jammu smart city project, not cooperated on giving ST status to Gujjars and Bakarwals, and spent only Rs 500 crore out of the Rs 2,000 crore package for the families of refugees from Pakistan occupied Kashmir. He asked the Governor’s administration to ensure that Rs 5.5 lakh was deposited in the bank accounts of each of these beneficiary families. He also complained that nothing had been done for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
Shah also alleged that the PDP and National Conference had amassed wealth through corrupt means. “Both these families (Mehbooba Mufti’s and Omar Abdullah’s) have, in alliance with the Congress, ruled for so long, but have done nothing for the welfare of the state and its people,” he said.
Shah also asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to either take action against senior Congressmen Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz for their recent statements or apologise to the nation. Azad, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, had said that Army operations in the state had killed more civilians than militants, a statement that was reportedly backed by Lashkar leader Mahmood Shah. And Soz, a former union minister, has written in his book, Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle, that “(Gen Pervez) Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today.”
Shah told the rally: “Your (Congress’s) top leader’s statement is endorsed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba… Rahul Gandhi shall answer to the nation how the ideologies of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ghulam Nabi Azad become the same.” Shah asked Soz to “stop dreaming” about the independence of Kashmir. “You can take a hundred births, but the BJP will never allow Kashmir to secede from India.” Syama Prasad Mookerjee, he said, had spilt his blood here, and “you cannot change history”.
The Congress hit back at Shah, saying he had no business lecturing the party on nationalism. “Our top most leaders have shed their blood and sacrificed their lives by becoming victims to terrorism and naxalism,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said.
He accused Shah of shedding crocodile tears after plunging J&K into deep turmoil by entering into an unethical and opportunistic alliance with the PDP, and asked him to reflect upon the hard facts instead of indulging in choreographed drama. There had been 16 major terror attacks on security installations, Surjewala said, and the BJP-led government had still chosen to invite the Pakistanis to investigate the Pathankot attack.
“It is none less than Amit Shah, who in a speech made on March 30, 2016 in Kolkata, had said that ‘Pakistan has made serious efforts in the Pathankot terror probe’,” Surjewala said. “In the last 48 months, 381 jawans and 240 civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir. Compare this with the last 48 months of the UPA government, when 139 jawans and 78 civilians were killed,” he said.