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Congress accuses BJP of destabilising govt in Kashmir

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Alienation in Kashmir is legacy of Congress: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Jan 03 (PTI) Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday attacked the BJP, accusing it of destabilising the government in Jammu and Kashmir and trying to break National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress in the state.

Initiating the debate on resolution to impose President rule in Jammu and Kashmir in Rajya Sabha, Azad said: "You made the government with fanfare in Jammu & Kashmir but BJP withdrew from it.

"Why didn't you conduct elections? You took four months and tried to break Congress, NC and whosoever (PDP) did development in Kashmir. The moment you came to know that government cannot be formed, you dissolved the assembly," he said.

Azad further said:"We are secular forces. We want to have Kashmir with India. You withdrew security in the state and made them soft target (for militants)".

He, however, supported the resolution moved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, to approve proclamation issued by the President on December 19, 2018 under Article 356 of the Constitution of India in relation to Jammu & Kashmir.

The resolution has already been passed by the Lok Sabha on December 28, 2018.

Azad also pointed out that since Jammu and Kashmir Governor has legislative and executive powers, the Governor brought 55 amendments in different laws in such a sensitive state.

He held BJP responsible for what he said was "100 percent alienation" in the state, alleging the government has brought this in the culture of state administration on how many Hindu or Muslim officials are appointed by them.

He said there were maximum number of ceasefire violations during the last four years and a large number of people as well as animals were killed due to shelling.

"We had given you a Kashmir which was known for communal harmony and development. But it not the same," he said.

Azad also accused government of not creating enough employment opportunities in the state and said this led to youth who were trained as doctors, engineers and Phd holders, to join militancy.

Speaking on the debate, Derek O' Brien (TMC) attacked the BJP saying "nationalism is not the copyright of one  party... you pretend to be nationalist...ultra nationalist...then heal Kashmir" and said that in acutality it may be "anti-national".

He said the government should not turn Kashmir into a "hell" from being a "paradise" and said the institutions in the country were being ruined one after the other be it "CBI, RBI, parliament or its panels".

He said there was a tendency to leave out Ladakh and Leh in discussions on Jammu and Kashmir.

He sought an assurance from the government that elections in the state will be held either now or with LS elections.

He also took a jibe at the government saying it was a peculiar situation where despite Defence Minister's presence in Lok Sabha, Finance Minister "replied" on defence issues and here in Rajya Sabha despite Home Minister's presence, Finance Minister was speaking on Home Ministry issues.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said government should refrain from the propaganda of "surgical strike" and keep country's interest paramount.

A Navaneethakrisnan (AIADMK) demanded that the presidential proclamation should be revoked at the earliest.

Anubhav Mohanty (BJD) said parties should rise above petty party politics.

T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) wanted to know whether the government was ordering any enquiry into the death of civilians in the state in the last three years by a sitting Supreme Court judge.

Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) said of late the definition of patriotism was being changed and wondered if NSA would take political decisions.

D Raja (CPI) said imposition of Article 356 was unconstitutional on part of the Centre and should have been invoked in extraordinary circumstances.

Rakesh Sinha (BJP), MM Fayaz (J&K PDP) and Majid Memon (NCP), T.K.S Elangovan (DMK) and Sanjay Singh (AAP) also spoke.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jailtey on Thursday maintained in the Rajya Sabha that mistakes made by the Congress had led to alienation among people in Kashmir and rejected its charge that the process had started in the last four-and-half years.

Participating in a discussion on the imposition of President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, he asserted that when history gives its verdict on the role of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and that of BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the Congress will feel the pain.

Rebutting the allegations levelled against the BJP-led government by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Finance Minister said it was wrong to say that alienation started in the state in the last four years. He also defended BJP forming alliance with the PDP in the state to run a coalition government.

Jaitley said there "is a history of alienation, there are policies" and noted that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir for successive years including in 1957, 1962 and 1967 were not fair and Congress had also indulged in destabilising governments.

"If elections are held in such manner, it will sow seeds of alienation. The people of the state felt they do not have right to contest polls. This is the politics you did to stay in power," he said.

Jaitley said people of the Valley still recall that the first "free and fair elections" in the state were held after Morarji Desai became prime minister in 1977. He said the Congress government led by Nehru had committed a series of mistakes in Kashmir.

"You had put all your eggs in one basket," he said, and added that the Congress government had to change its policy and arrest the National Conference leader Sheikh Abdullah.

He said the Indira-Sheikh Abdullah agreement was reached in 1975 but disagreements cropped up soon.

The minister said that the then state Governor B.K. Nehru refused to play the Centre's game to destabilise the Farooq Abdullah government in 1984 and stepped down. He said a new governor was appointed and a new government was formed by breaking the National Conference.

Jaitley said Congress again joined hands with Farooq Abdullah in 1986 and ran a government till 1989 which caused "so much alienation which the valley had never seen".

The minister said the problem of stone-pelting erupted around 2010 after militants and separatists realised that the capacity of the government forces was getting better and their tactics were proving futile.

He said the separatists realised that there was a consensus in the world that "nobody can be allowed to enjoy the fruits of terrorism" and organisations such as Hurriyat Conference sought to start "masked disobedience by encouraging people, including students, to pelt stones at security forces”. There has been a reduction in incidents of stone-pelting over the past few years, he said.

The minister also said it would be better not to indulge in blame-game. It was necessary to learn from the mistakes made in the past and work for peace and progress.

He said that regional parties had a role to play in Jammu and Kashmir and the national parties could form alliances despite ideological differences.

Jaitley said a new force had emerged in the state following the panchayat elections.

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