NEW DELHI: The remarks of Army chief Bipin Rawat that there was no communication breakdown in Kashmir as far as people are concerned and it only relates to terrorists and their handlers across the LoC has been welcomed by leaders of NDA and security experts but some opposition leaders said he appeared to be speaking the language of the ruling dispensation.
Rawat had said on Monday in response to media queries in Chennai that there was a communication breakdown between terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and their handlers in Pakistan but there was no such breakdown among people and telephone lines have been opened up.
Congress leader Tariq Anwar told ANI that Rawat's remarks reflect ruling BJP's narrative on the matter. "It seems, directly or indirectly, he is supporting and helping BJP," he said.
Rashtriya Janta Dal spokesperson Manoj Jha said the situation could have been managed without shutting down the internet in the Valley. He suggested that Rawat should not have spoken on the issue.
"India is a robust democratic state, unlike Pakistan. We have domains for everyone. There is a clear division on who will speak on what and people must respect it," he said.
Janata Dal-United leader KC Tyagi supported Rawat and said the party takes his remarks seriously.
"We are in support of every step taken by them (the Army). Terrorist activities have been curbed (in the Valley) and we appreciate it," Tyagi told ANI here.
Tyagi's views were echoed by his colleague Ajay Alok who said Rawat "knows his responsibility" very well.
BJP leader Madhav Bhandari attacked those opposition leaders who suggest that Rawat was reflecting views of BJP. "Whoever speaks of national security is branded as pro-BJP", he said, adding that "such statements are deliberately targeting the Army".
Defence Expert Major General (retd) DC Katoch supported Rawat's views and said his statement should be understood in the proper context.
"It means that as far as Kashmir division is concerned all activities are open without any restriction. It is terrorists who have put up posters asking the citizens to not send their children to the school. Only two things have been curtailed -- mobile and internet," he said.
Katoch said Pakistan's ISI uses both the internet and mobile telephone to pass instructions to elements based in the Valley.
"ISI has not been able to advance its terror plans due to the restrictions on these services," he said.
Amit Raina, a Kashmiri activist, supported the government over communication restrictions stressing that saving the lives of citizens is more important than allowing internet and mobile phone services.
He said the government must have taken the decision after due deliberation.
"Lives are more important than the internet connection. Internet blockage is not only in Kashmir but it is also in Jammu but you would not have heard any objections from there. Separatists are the hardest hit by this blockage. The government has ensured that people can access the internet through kiosks to reduce their difficulties".