As Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violence and regular protests led by civilians, differences of opinions have also emerged in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, say reports. Reports suggest that while the PDP wants to take a ‘soft stand’ on local protesters, especially the stone pelters, the BJP favours a tough stand against anyone who speaks against the Indian government.
Moreover, the controversial remarks made against stone pelters and protesters by a senior BJP minister in the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti cabinet have widened the gap between the ruling partners.
Chander Parkash Ganga says “Stone pelters deserve to be shot”
Recently, Chander Parkash Ganga, minister for Industries & Commerce, called stone pelters “deshdrohi” (traitors). He added that stone pelters deserved to be shot or beaten as those who do not listen deserve to be kicked. “Aap ne ek video jo viral hua hai dekha, kaise Hindustan Murdabad bol rahe hain. Wahi log hain na jo patthar marte hain. Inka ilaj jahi ek joota hai. Yeh jo inko pyaar kartey hain, unko pappian lene ki zaroorat nahin hai. Deshdrohi hain aur deshdrohi ka ek hi ilaj hai, woh chahe Pakistan se aaya ho ya desh ke andhar ho. Uska ilaj hai goli. Aur agar goli na ho to kam se kam usko aisi sazaa deni chahiye, jaise usko dande maare thhay. Aisa hi inka ilaj chahiye. Dobara koi patthar maar jaye to aap baat karna… Kis tarah ki azadi chahiye inko, aap bataiye mujhe,” Ganga said at a public function in Ramgarh town, along the international border in Samba district on Sunday.
(“You saw a video that has gone viral, how Hindustan Murdabad was being raised. These are the same people who hurl stones. They deserve to be beaten with shoes. Those who love them don’t have to kiss them. They are traitors and there’s only one cure, whether these traitors are from Pakistan or within the country. They deserve to be shot. If not bullets, at least punish them like the way there beaten. They deserve this treatment. If anybody throws a stone again, talk to me… what kind of independence do they want, tell me.”)
PDP leaders dissatisfied
After a video footage of Ganga’s remarks surfaced on Thursday, several PDP leaders have opposed his views on the current unrest in the state. “It is unbecoming of a senior minister in the government to dish out such a sweeping, sickening and intimidating statement against Kashmiri youth,” PDP vice president Mohammad Sartaj Madni said in a statement. He said Ganga’s statement was in contravention to the stand of the state cabinet on the issue. “Instead of reaching out to the distressed and alienated Kashmiri youth and address their concerns”, Madni said, “the hawkish rhetoric of such fringe elements has the danger of further adding to the alienation of the people and impeding the government’s efforts of restoring peace and calm in the Valley”.
Earlier this week, the CM chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss the Kashmir turmoil. The cabinet expressed “deep anguish” over the killing of civilians during protests in the Valley and urged security forces to “exercise maximum restraint”.