Press Trust of india

Apni Party chief Bukhari pays tribute to slain soldiers, points to ‘alarming’ increase in terror activity

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Jammu: Paying tribute to the five soldiers killed during a recent anti-terror operation, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari on Sunday termed as “alarming” the increased terror activity in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.

Addressing a one-day workers’ convention here, the former minister said, “The growing (number of) terror incidents in Rajouri and Poonch are a cause for concern. Such activities are a grave threat to peace and brotherhood.”

Five soldiers were killed in an explosion triggered by terrorists on Friday in the thickly forested Kandi area in Rajouri during an operation to flush out the ultras.

Bukhari also alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir administration led by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has failed to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region that had remained intact even during the peak of terrorism in the 1990s.

“The people from Poonch, Rajouri, parts of the Chenab Valley and Kashmir migrated to Jammu and settled here. The people from all regions lived in peace and brotherhood in Jammu,” he said.

Bukhari added that the government must focus on controlling terrorism in Rajouri and Poonch.

“If terrorism can be controlled in Kashmir, why has it (the government) failed to control the same in Pir Panjal? For the last eight months, no local has joined terrorism in Kashmir. If terror incidents are happening, it is because a political party was busy spreading Gujjar-Pahari divide,” the Apni Party leader said.

His remarks were an apparent reference to the BJP, which has promised Scheduled Tribe status to the Paharis despite objections raised by the Gujjar community.

Complimenting Jammu residents for their contribution to peace and accommodating the migrants from terror-hit regions, Bukhari said the people of Jammu have big hearts.

“They welcomed all and allowed them to share water, electricity, land, and jobs. They always maintained communal harmony and peace,” he said, lauding the Dogras of Jammu.

The former minister also claimed that the peace that was maintained in the 1990s is being breached under the Lt Governor’s administration and the BJP which, according to him, is unwilling to hold assembly elections in the Union Territory for various reasons that suit them.

“If elections can be held in other states of the country, why can assembly elections not be held in Jammu and Kashmir? It appears that the BJP does not want elections because it fears defeat if the polls are held. It does not mean that they should compel the people to suffer without an elected government,” he said.

Bukhari added, “The Lt Governor administration’s prestigious Smart City project has turned the roads in Jammu City into those seen in Afghanistan.”

He also claimed that the people of both the Jammu and Kashmir regions demand the immediate restoration of statehood and the holding of assembly elections.

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