Huge response to Yatra against Corruption in Uttarakhand and Jammu
By Khujuria S Kant
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani warned the Central Government of a major agitation if any move was made to restore the pre-1953 status to Jammu &Kashmir and attempts to demoralise the Army continued.
“The Army is not a problem in the state. Don’t paint the Army as a problem. The BJP will not allow any decision on the state in which Army’s will is not taken,” he said while joining the debate on the continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). He was addressing a modest rally in Jammu during his Jan Chetna Yatra.
Advani, who arrived in Jammu as a part of his 40th-day country-wide rath yatra against corruption and blackmoney, said, “If Army agrees on AFSPA revocation, then do it or if not then do not do it”. “Due to Army, Jammu and Kashmir has remained a part of the country. They are keeping it as a part of the country. But continued attempts are being made to demonise the Army- be it AFSPA or else. It is projected that Jammu and Kashmir has a problem and it is Army,” Advani said. “If there are any excesses it should be corrected. We also get some examples of excesses regarding Manipur. It should be done away,” he said adding, “But in Jammu & Kashmir there should be a separate and firm approach.” The BJP leader alleged that Army persons were getting humiliated in Jammu & Kashmir. “They are getting hurt by these statements. They are fighting to keep Jammu & Kashmir part of the country by sacrificing their lives, but are still accused,” he lamented maintaining that Kashmir is an old problem, he said, “there are various states where problems do occur but they also get resolved later.
Advani said the state owed its existence and survival to the Army. “Right from the tribal attack to the several wars with Pakistan to the fight against terrorism, the state owes its survival to the Army. The contribution of the Indian Army should be acknowledged.”
“Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should understand that if the Army had not come to J&K to rescue it from the Pakistan backed tribal raid in 1947, the situation would have been different here,” he added.
Advani said, “Army guarded our borders and it is only due to them, Jammu and Kashmir is today an integral part of the country.” He said now the Pakistan was funding the poor youths of the country and asking them to strike within the country. “This is done to give an impression to the international community that these are the indigenous militant groups named as Indian Mujaheedin (IM) and not the foreign mercenaries,” he said.
On the withdrawal of Special Power Act Advani said the withdrawal of special powers of the Army would be detrimental to the peace in the region, “Terrorists would hide in those areas where the Army does not have the power to launch an offensive against them.”
Referring to the demand of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for a pre-1953 status of the state, Advani said this was impossible as that would mean allowing the sacrifice made by Syama Prasad Mukherjee to go waste. Mukherjee, who founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, had visited Kashmir in 1953, and observed a hunger strike to protest the law that required Indian citizens to carry ID cards to visit the state. Although the ID card rule was revoked due to his efforts, he died on June 23, 1953, under mysterious circumstances.
“There were two Prime Ministers and two Presidents in the country—one for entire country and one for Jammu & Kashmir. The President of J&K was called Sadr-e-Riyasat. This entire practice ended with the agitation and martyrdom of Syama Prasad Mukherjee. “Today, there is one Prime Minister, one President, one CAG, one Supreme Court and one Election Commission in the country. This was possible due to sacrifice of his life by Mukherjee’’, Mr Advani said.
Pointing out that UPA Government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh has no firm policy either against terrorism or on talks with Pakistan, he regretted that different voices are being heard from the Government representatives on both the sensitive issues.
Advani said it was the NDA Government headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee, which had told the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf in categoric terms that there can be no talks with him if he continued to describe terrorists operating in Kashmir as ‘freedom fighters’.
“Musharraf was rebuffed in Agra after he called the terrorists as ‘freedom fighters’. He was told that if he was not ready to call a spade a spade, there was no purpose of holding talks with him’’, the BJP leader said and recalled that it was the NDA which had adopted zero tolerance towards terrorism. He hoped that the UPA would also adopt a similar approach towards the terrorism.
Taking strong exception to Dr Manmohan Singh calling his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani as a ‘man of peace’, the BJP veteran leader said: “I agree that India should have good relations with Pakistan but Dr Singh should understand that Pakistan Government has no control over their own country and terrorists’’. He added that ‘pro-terrorist elements’ would get encouraged with the statement of the Prime Minister.
Advani lashed out at the Manmohan Singh-led government, calling it the most corrupt government that had “delivered the worst governance in the history of the country.” “They are not doing much to bring back Rs 25 lakh crore of black money stashed away in foreign banks.
Describing cash-for-vote scam as ‘biggest scam in history of the country’’, he said 19 MPs were ‘purchased’ by the Government for anything between ` 5 crore to ` 10 crore or even much more. He hoped that the Supreme Court would go into the facts as to who paid the money, with whose consent it was paid and how much cash was paid in total. Those who paid the money should also be treated as corrupt’’, he asserted.
He claimed that the Government told even a foreign dignitary that it has ‘purchased’ MPs to vote in favour of the agreement with that country. “There can be nothing more shameless manner than this’’, he said.
Asserting that he had high regards for Dr Manmohan Singh when he was not the Prime Minister, Mr Advani said he never expected that Dr Singh would commit such an act.
Noting that corruption was leading to inflation in the country, Advani quoted the assessment of Global Financial Integrity organisation that there were Rs 25 lakh crore of Indians stashed in Swiss and other banks of the foreign countries.
“If Rs 25 lakh crore worth black money is brought back to the country, India will witness a revolution in development with no villages remaining without power or water, there will be schools in every village and rural areas will prosper’’, he said. He also referred to Rs 1,76,000 crore worth loss caused in 2G spectrum scam in the country.
Commenting over corruption he remarked, “Good governance and corruption cannot co-exist. Whatever has been done against corruption has been done by the courts, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and CAG not by the Prime Minister or for that matter Sonia Gandhi.” Voicing his anger over cash for vote scam in the Parliament, he said, “It is hard to believe that such a huge amount would have been paid without the consent and knowledge of Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. Moreover, the BJP MPs who acted as whistleblowers and in the interest of democracy are being jailed, whereas there are laws in other democratic countries for the protection of whistleblowers. It would be better if the Supreme Court goes into details”.
Advani said he had taken out six ‘rath yatras’ in his political career but never got such a massive response, which his present ‘Jan Chetna Yatra’ was getting. He added that even in Tamil Nadu where the BJP has no MP or MLA, there was massive response to the yatra.
The BJP leader recalled his association with Jan Sangh and Praja Parishad in Jammu from fifties. He said he was missing former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in his yatra though he had taken his blessings before embarking upon 40 days yatra. He also made a strong mention of his association with Pt Prem Nath Dogra. He was accompanied by senior party leaders and former Ministers Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar and BJP general secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda.