SRINAGAR: Justifying the use of pellets by security forces in Valley to deal with protestors, the ruling BJP in Jammu and Kashmir has ruled out announcing any political package for Kashmir to end the ongoing turmoil triggered by killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
“We have given lot of liberties to separatist leaders. We have given them lot of relaxation. What further relaxation can we give them that they are attempting to destabilize the state. There is an extent to liberty and it can’t go beyond a certain point,” senior J&K BJP leader and MLC Ramesh Arora told Express over phone from Jammu.
He said the government has to maintain law and order and it has the responsibility to safeguard lives and property of people.
“Every Kashmiri is not a militant and every Kashmiri is not a separatist,” Arora said adding the government will deal with iron hands with those, who are hell bent on destabilizing the situation.
He said the government will not spare anybody. “Every measure will be taken to restore normalcy in the Valley and action will be taken against those, who are trying to destabilize the situation.”
At least 58 people including two policemen have been killed and over 7200 including 4000 civilians 3200 security men injured in the ongoing cycle of violence and unrest in the Valley triggered by killing of Burhan on July 8.
Arora, whose party shares power with PDP in J&K, said the State government has announced transfers in police department. “We had decided to announce transfers after normalcy was restored. However, since the situation did not improve, we felt it may prolong and decided to transfer police officers so that the new person will come with new mindset and new energy.”
“We will take every step to normalize the situation,” the BJP leader said.
Asked whether government will announce any political package to deal with the situation, Arora said, “No, political package not possible. Economic package is possible.”
“There is demand for autonomy and then there is demand for Self-rule. NC’s autonomy demand is not public demand but a political demand. Fulfilment of such demand will not fully satisfy the people because it is not their demand,” he said adding, “There are so many groups and there is no unanimity among their demands”.
Arora, however, said, they will initiate a process to address public issues. Best possible way would be used to address the public issues”.
“Political aspiration and aspiration of youth would be addressed,” he said.
The life in Valley has remained crippled for last 32 days due to curfew and restrictions imposed by government and shutdown called by separatist leaders. The separatists have extended strike upto August 12.
Asked about use of pellet guns in Valley, the BJP leader said there are central government’s guidelines on use of pellet guns. “The security forces have to follow those guidelines.”
“Our security forces have exercised maximum restraint. The situation has reached to such a point that our security men have been demoralized as they feel the government has totally restricted them from reacting. The security forces have been told to exercise maximum restraint so that none is hurt or killed and this should not be taken as their weakness,” he said.
Arora said injuries have not been suffered by one side only. “Large number of security personnel have been injured in the ongoing clashes in the Valley”.
“Security forces have to act to restore the writ of the government and maintain law and order to ensure safety of public property and lives of people. They fire pellets only when they feel there is requirement of it to deal with the situation,” he said.
“When security force camps, bunkers have been attacked and a policemen pushed into water by a mob, what can security forces do. They have to act and fire pellets as they have no option. They fire it only when situation demands,” Arora said.
He said pellets have been found alternative to stop killings. “It is a non-lethal weapon. Wherever they feel need to fire pellets, they fire it. When security men have to react to deal with the hostile situation, they fire non lethal weapons including pellets and avoid firing bullets”.
The BJP leader said militants are openly participating in rallies. “Then in these rallies stone pelting takes place. The militants remain present in such rallies and want to provoke killings by security forces. However, the security men use non lethal weapons to avoid killings”.
“The stone pelting can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Asked whether the party is hopeful that normalcy in Valley would be restored in shortest possible time, Arora said, “Situation in Valley was worst then this in 1989- 1990s, 2008, 2010. We have seen worst period then the present one. Those situations were handled and this too would be handled and peace restored. We are sure we will be able to restore 100 % normalcy”.