BJP mum but its allies slam attacks on Kashmiris

The Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal United have criticised the targeting of Kashmiris

  • Published 23.02.19, 2:31 AM
  • Updated 23.02.19, 10:42 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray Picture by Prem Singh

Allies the BJP is banking on to return to power have stressed that Kashmiris are an integral part of India and have come out firmly against attacks on them across the country in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror strike, even as the top leadership of the government has maintained silence on the backlash.

The Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal United, all constituents of the BJP-led NDA, have criticised the targeting of Kashmiris and urged the Centre to take stern steps against those fomenting such attacks.

Although the Union home ministry has sent out a routine advisory to states to protect Kashmiris, Prime Minister Narendra Modi so far has not spoken against the attacks on people from the Valley staying in different parts of the country.

The Akali Dal on Friday appealed to President Ram Nath Kovind to take action against Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy, who was for long associated with the BJP, for backing a purported call to boycott “everything Kashmiri”.

“Just like Kashmir is an integral part of India; we have an integral bond with Kashmiris also. We are committed to protect them. It is shameful that a Governor uses such words & advocates a hateful approach against Kashmiris. @tathagata2 has lost all moral rights to be a Governor,” Akali Dal spokesperson Manjinder S. Sirsa tweeted.

Roy had tweeted last Tuesday in response to the Pulwama attack. “An appeal from a retired colonel of the Indian Army: Don’t visit Kashmir, don’t go to Amarnath for the next 2 years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesman who come every winter. Boycott everything Kashmiri. I am inclined to agree.”

Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral demanded that the President take action against Roy. “It is shocking that such statements are made and no action is being taken. This is a constitutional position and people want a governor to be a statesman and secular. Such statements spread hatred in the country,” Gujral said.

Roy, who has made many controversial and outrageous comments on Twitter in the past, has been condemned by the government or the BJP’s top leadership.

On Thursday, when law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was asked about Roy’s tweet on Kashmiris, he said: “I don’t agree with his tweet. The matter ends there.”

The Shiv Sena, seen as vehemently pro-Hindutva, too has taken a stand against the attacks on Kashmiris. Sena leader Aditya Thackeray, son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, on Friday sacked partymen allegedly involved in an attack on Kashmiris in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal on Wednesday.

“As of last evening, the party has sacked those involved in the act. J&K is a part of India and no Indian, or for that matter, nobody should face the brunt of anger that is towards terrorism. We understand the angst but it must be against terror, not innocent people,” Aditya tweeted.

Bihar chief minister and JDU boss Nitish Kumar, another BJP ally, has not only condemned the attacks on Kashmiris but also voiced support for Article 370 that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Post-Pulwama, large sections of the Sangh family have been demanding abrogation of Article 370.

Confronted with the voices of key allies, the BJP on Friday came out in support of Kashmir and Kashmiris.

“Kashmir is an integral part of the country and we are with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

He, however, refused to react to the Akali Dal’s demand that the President act against the Meghalaya governor, saying he doesn’t speak on “high constitutional posts”.

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