Press Trust of india

Worsening law and order situation main reason for pullout: JK BJP chief

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Jammu, Jun 20: The deteriorating law-and-order situation in Jammu and Kashmir was the main reason for the BJP to pull out from the government and pave way for Governor’s rule to ensure restoration of peace and normalcy, state party chief Ravinder Raina today said.

He said the decision was not abrupt and was taken after three-month-long deliberations in the larger interest of the nation.

“The main issue was the fast deteriorating law and order situation in the valley. The only alternative was governor’s rule because there will be a single line administration,” he said.

“There might be political compulsions for parties in handling such a tough situation but during governor’s rule, we are of the opinion that anti-terror operations and operations against anti-social elements will easily be carried out,” he added.

Raina, who was flanked by several top BJP leaders including former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta, said restoration of law and order is the need of the hour.

He said the army was given a “free hand” in the last three years which resulted in the killing of 619 militants.  As many as 23 Pakistani militants were also neutralised by the forces during the Ramazan ceasefire, which was part of many initiatives taken to restore peace in Kashmir, he added.

He denied any politics behind the decision to pull out from the government and said it was done in the “interest of the nation”.

Raina said the government was not able to carry out the “anti-terror operations” as the BJP wanted. “We wanted terrorist-free Kashmir to allow people to live their lives with honour and dignity and without any fear,” he said.

Referring to the suspension of operations during Ramazan, he said Pakistan responded to the initiative by activating the entire International border and parts of Line of Control on the same day the Centre announced it.

“Infiltrators were pushed and innocents were targeted including a renowned journalist who was killed in the broad daylight. The Jammu bus stand was attacked with a grenade while army jawan sepoy Choudhary Aurangzeb was shot dead after abduction,” he said defending the BJP’s decision.

He also referred to the killing of police officers including DSP Mohammad Ayoub Pandit, who was lynched by a mob at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar last year.

Asked whether the Army will be given free hand to deal with the situation under Governor’s rule, Raina said “the army always enjoyed free hand and is fully capable to deal with any challenge.”

He also denied that the BJP was not waiting for any opportunity.

“We believe nation stands first and tricolour is our priority. The BJP is not for power. Had it been our aim, there were still three more years left to govern the state,” he said.

In response to another question whether it was a mistake on the part of the BJP to ally with the PDP, Raina said his party tried its best to form a government on its own but fell short of its mission 44 plus seats.

He said the BJP faced some difficulty in implementing developmental projects as some ministries were not with the party.

On National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah’s demand for dissolution of the assembly due to the apprehension of horse trading, he said, “It is his personal view. Those who indulge in such practice speak such things. The BJP never talks about it and we don’t have this motive.”

He avoided answering questions on Article 370 which gives special status to the state.

Asked about Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement that her party acted according to its agenda and ensured protection of Article 370, ceasefire and withdrawal of cases against stone-pelters, Gupta said nothing was possible without the support of BJP.

“We supported the PDP in restoration of normalcy. We felt that some ministries including the home ministry (which was under chief minister) failed to take tough decisions … and demonstrated soft approach and registered FIRs against the security personnel,” he said.

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