HYDERABAD: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday said that the Indian Army should hand over the anti-militancy operations to the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF), adding the Army should return to barracks in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking at the ‘Kashmir - Now and Way Ahead’ event, Sinha said that the Army is in the forefront of fighting militancy in the Valley, instead of protecting the border and the Line of Control (LoC).
“In villages or towns, when there is a militancy situation, it is the Indian Army first, then the CRPF and the Police,” he said.
He added, “There is a case for the Army going back to the barracks leaving the operations (against militancy) to the CRPF and the J-K Police,” he said, adding “it will act like a balm on the psyche of the people.”
Sinha also said that the CRPF is well equipped and trained to handle militancy like they tackle the Left Wing Extremism problem in the country.
He also lamented that the people of at least four generations had been living under the shadow of the security forces and claimed that it wouldn’t have been tolerated anywhere else in the country.
“Nobody wants violence. We all want to resolve the Kashmir issue,” he said.
Sinha claimed that it had been “the longest issue with us since our independence”. He touched upon the plight of the people there and their sentiment towards their treatment.
“If you visit Kashmir, they tell you that we always been in denial. They also feel a strong feeling of betrayal and discrimination,” he said.
The former external affairs minister also lashed out at Pakistan, claiming that it exports terror.
He said, “Of course, Pakistan is exporting terror and there is terrorism and we have issues with PakIstan."
Sinha also expressed hope for the fact that Kashmir would help resolve the issue between India and Pakistan.
“Jammu and Kashmir can become the bridge between India and Pakistan and the Line of Control (LoC) can become the line of peace.” he said.
He also said that Pakistan is acting as a third political party in the Kashmir situation.
Sinha said that Kashmir is more of a political problem than a security problem and stressed on the need for engaging in a dialogue for resolving the decades-old turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir as “non-violence is completely at a discount there”.
Quoting his experiences during a visit to Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani, he said that there was a strong constituency of peace and a possibility of engaging in a dialogue.
He stressed on the need to engage in a two-way dialogue process, beginning with “öur own people”of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The day you announce the dialogue process and its tits and bits, that day there will be a dramatic improvement in the situation of J-K, because noone wants violence.” he said.
He added, “There is an urgency attached to it as people are suffering. It is our fault that the people over there are feeling alienated and it is our responsibility to reach out to them."
He also urged the Centre to operationalise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dialogue regarding “Embracing Kashmiris” during his Independence Day speech.