Press Trust of india

Kashmir politicians wrongly linking movement of troops to abrogation of Article 35-A: Chouhan

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Srinagar, Jul 27:  Senior BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said Kashmir-based mainstream politicians were “spreading rumours” by linking the movement of troops to the Valley to the abrogation of Article 35-A of the Constitution.

His comments came days after the Centre ordered rushing of about 10,000 central forces personnel to the Kashmir Valley in order to strengthen counter-insurgency operations and law and order duties there.

"These rumours are being spread by our friends. The movement of troops is a normal process," Chouhan told reporters here when asked about opposition parties linking the movement of troops to repealing of Article 35-A.

Article 35-A empowers the State Assembly to define 'permanent residents' of Jammu and Kashmir for bestowing special rights and privileges on them.

"The government has also said that we are ready for the assembly polls whenever the Election Commission wants to conduct them and additional forces are needed for the smooth conduct of the polls," the BJP leader, who was here to launch a membership drive of the party, said.

"There is nothing more to it. But Omar (Abdullah) and Mehbooba (Mufti) have to have some issue, so they are raising it," he added.

Asked whether the Centre was planning to repeal Article 35-A, Chouhan said the matter was before the Supreme Court.

The Centre on Thursday ordered deployment of 100 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) "in order to strengthen the CI (counter-insurgency) grid as well as for maintaining law and order situation" in Jammu and Kashmir.

One CAPF company comprises about 100 personnel.

Chouhan also criticised National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah's remarks wherein he warned people against boycotting the forthcoming Assembly polls as it could help the BJP.

"I have heard about his remarks. He was warning people, but cited examples of those who worked against the country and not of those who sacrificed their lives for the nation. He is worried how the BJP is making inroads into the valley," the BJP leader said.

Abdullah, at a party meeting on Friday, had said if the trend of parliamentary polls continues in the Assembly elections, then there will be a BJP MLA from Tral.

"Imagine, there will be a BJP MLA from the same Tral where from Burhan Wani and Zakir Musa were if there is a boycott (of polls)," he had said.

Wani and Musa, militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind groups respectively, were killed in encounters with security forces.

Chouhan alleged that Abdullah and Mehbooba had “looted” Jammu and Kashmir, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a decisive battle against corruption.

"Be it Omar or Mehbooba, when their governments ruled Jammu and Kashmir, they left no stone unturned to loot the state. Funds came for development, but did not reach the people, there was corruption," he said.

"Now, a new India is emerging under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country is moving forward fast. There is a decisive battle against corruption," he added.

When asked if the BJP would again join hands with a regional party in the state to form the government, Chouhan said the saffron party would come to power on its own.

He also demanded opening of Sharada Peeth shrine across the Line of Control for Indian pilgrims.

"The Ministry of External Affairs has also raised this demand with Pakistan to open the shrine for 'darshan'. The government will raise the issue with Pakistan, but the society also demands that the shrine be opened so that people go there and perform 'darshan'," he said.

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