JAMMU, Apr 21: Taking a strong exception to the ‘War and Love’ statement made by Mr. Ram Madhav, Minister for Education Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said the statement seems to be a move aimed at legitimizing a crime that is internationally abhorred under covenants of human rights. The education minister also strongly condemned the remarks made by BJP minister Chander Prakash Ganga saying that ‘bullets can’t win the battle of ideas’.
“One fails to understand against whom Mr. Madhav has declared war! Is it a war declared against Kashmiris who despite all odds casted their votes reaffirming their belief in democracy? Or it is a war declared to satiate the sanguine electoral interests of a particular political party in the country,” Bukhari questioned.
He said modern nations operate under the presumption that in the case of armed conflict, the State must do everything to ensure civilians are not hurt. “However, Mr. Madhav seems to be justifying what is unjustifiable under law. Almost all general legal approaches consider human shields illegal both in domestic circumstances and international conflicts,” the minister for education remarked.
Bukhari said some people in the country have unfortunately started arguing that using humans as shields in military operations is justified response to Kashmiri protesters who hurl stones to give vent to their political aspirations. “These statements smack of a hyper-nationalist environment in the country. Unfortunately, people with right-wing approach consider any support for human rights in Kashmir to be anti-national. Let Mr. Madhav be reminded that no civilized society can afford to use its’ citizens as shields for military operations,” Bukhari observed.
On the statement of Mr. Ganga, the minster for education said that his remarks speak volumes about intellectual bankruptcy of a person who is holding the responsibility of a public office. He said that bullets have only created havoc in the world and have brought an enforced thus temporary peace in certain regions. “Bullets can’t win you a battle of ideas. PDP believes that dialogue is the only way out. Unfortunately instead of initiating dialogue as a confidence building measure to re-instill a sense of belonging among bruised Kashmiris, some BJP insiders are trying to sabotage the whole peace process initiated under Mr. Vajpayee regime,” Bukhari regretted.
“Even army generals who deal with bullets are not supposed to give sweeping statements like Mr. Ganga has made. The BJP minister has exposed himself for his venomous and biased approach against Kashmiris who believe a person holding a chair of responsibility behaves and acts in an impartial manner,” Bukhari said and asked Mr Ganga not only to withdraw his remarks but extend an unconditional apology to citizens of the State.
The minister for education said that Agenda of Alliance reached between PDP-BJP coalition Government was supposed to offer confidence building measures for the conflict torn Kashmiris as the same is a concise document of all major reports and working group recommendations made on Jammu and Kashmir.
“If Kashmiris are perceived as ‘enemies and anti nationals’ why BJP agreed in principle for the agenda of alliance calling for dialogue with all stakeholders… good relations between India and Pakistan… maintaining status quo on Article 370…steps for revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) …opening of new cross-LoC routes…settlement of issues of refugees etc,” Bukhari asked.
The minister for education said that Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed could have stitched an alliance within few hours to be in power but he always treaded the tough path and took bold decisions to get Kashmir out of the political instability and its consequences.
“PDP did not form this coalition for power or any privileges but this government was formed to restart and resume a halfway left reconciliatory process to heal the wounds of conflict hit Kashmiris. Unfortunately, the BJP seems to be moving towards the opposite direction,” Bukhari remarked.