AAP holds 'Jan Aakrosh Rally' against targeted killings in Kashmir
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) organised a protest at the Jantar Mantar here on Sunday against the recent spurt in targeted killings in Kashmir and slammed the BJP-led Centre for the situation in the valley.
Braving the heat, hundreds of protesters, including women and children, gathered at the Jantar Mantar to protest against the killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.
Carrying placards that read "India will not tolerate the killings of Kashmiri Pandits", the protesters raised "Bharat Mata ki Jai" slogans and demanded justice for the Kashmiri Pandits who are being targeted and killed by terrorists.
The protesters also maintained a two-minute silence to pay tributes to those who lost their lives due to the targeted killings in the valley.
Several AAP leaders, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Environment Minister Gopal Rai, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and party MLAs, attended the "Jan Aakrosh Rally" and raised anti-BJP slogans.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also addressed the rally later in the day.
Kashmir has recently witnessed eight targeted killings by terror groups, especially Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), and the victims included non-Muslims, security personnel, a television artiste and local civilians.
Scores of Kashmiri Pandits, who were employed in the valley under a prime minister's package in 2012, have been staging protests, threatening a mass exodus, since the killing of Rahul Bhat, who was shot dead by terrorists in the Chadoora area of Budgam district in central Kashmir on May 12.
The valley has been witness to an exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s.
Addressing the rally at Jantar Mantar, Kejriwal hit out at Pakistan, accusing it of supporting terror activities in Kashmir.
"I want to tell Pakistan to stop petty tactics. Kashmir will always be a part of India," he said at the rally held against the targeted killings in the valley.
The AAP national convenor alleged that Kashmiri Pandits are being "forced" to leave their homes again, a repeat of what happened in the 1990s.
"The BJP cannot handle Kashmir, it only knows how to do dirty politics. Please do not do politics over Kashmir," he said.
Kejriwal also put four demands before the BJP-led Centre.
The Centre should tell the public about its plan to tackle the situation in Kashmir, cancel the bond signed with Kashmiri Pandits that says they cannot work outside Kashmir, fulfil all their demands and provide them security, he said.
Sisodia blamed the Centre for its alleged failure in controlling the situation in Kashmir and the targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits.
"Because of the negligence and dirty politics of the Centre, bullets are being fired and it has become difficult to stay in Kashmir anymore. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Kashmiri Pandits in their pain and sufferings.
"We warn the BJP that killings of Kashmiri Pandits will not be tolerated. If any Kashmiri suffers in pain, we being in any part of the country also feel their pain. Kashmir is burning, bullets are being fired, but we stand for our brothers and sisters from the valley in their pain and grief...," the deputy chief minister said.
Singh said when the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits took place in the 1990s, a BJP-backed government was in power at the Centre and now, another BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in power with a full majority when Kashmiri Pandits are again being "forced" to leave the valley.
Rai questioned the Centre's silence over the recent killings of Kashmiri Pandits.
"A series of killings has begun and everyone has only one question in their mind that why is the BJP government silent on the targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits," he said.
Recalling that Kejriwal had said in the Assembly that the pain of the Kashmiri Pandits should not be made a business, Rai said the entire nation is now witnessing that in the name of putting an end to terrorism in Kashmir, the government has stopped the holding of elections in the valley.
The Delhi minister asserted that the AAP will continue to raise its voice against any wrongdoing against anyone, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, gender or religion.