Softening its stand on the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said that if voted to power, the party will create an atmosphere where such a ‘stringent’ law would not be required.
"Our understanding is that if the BJP comes to power in the state, there would not been any need of such a law (AFSPA). We will create such an atmosphere where there would be no fear and everything will move forward peacefully and there would be no need of a stringent law," BJP leader and state-party in charge Ramesh Arora said.
Accusing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who has been advocating partial revocation of the law, for ‘failing’ to secure the atmosphere for any movement forward on the issue, the BJP leader said, "This government has failed to secure the atmosphere (for the law to go). Such a move will demoralise the armed forces besides hampering anti-militancy operations in the state."
Arora, while condemning the militants attack on the sarpanch of ruling National Conference in Shopian district on Sunday, demanded a probe by the Election Commission into the incident.
"The Lal Chowk blast (on Saturday) and the sarpanch killing is political terrorism. We condemn this and demand the Election commission to order a proper inquiry into the incidents. The administration should cooperate with the election body in the probe," he said.
"We do not support political terrorism or Pakistan-sponsored terrorism or any other form of terrorism. We want peace and prosperity," Arora said.
The leader also alleged that the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party were behind the acts of violence for their political gains.
"I have minutely observed this during the Parliament polls as well. Those who think boycotting (elections) and violent incidents would suit them, they would try to enforce the boycott and indulge in violence," Arora said.
"We understand that both the NC and the PDP are involved in this and it is for the people to analyze what the truth is. These are not vague allegations and police and other agencies will have to take steps to stop such incidents irrespective of any high-profile people behind such incidents," he said.
Arora said the state was coming out of a huge turmoil and there was international interest in the place to stop the country's growth. "Jammu and Kashmir is coming out of a huge turmoil. It is a place where international focus and interest is there as they -- be it Pakistan, China or other countries -- want that India should not grow. We want the place to grow," he said.
The BJP leader added that leaders, including the chief minister are ‘getting unnerved by the Modi wave and are trying to communalise the atmosphere’.
"We are seeing the wave of Modi here in Kashmir like it is in the rest of the country," he said. The leader also hit out at the other parties for criticising the BJP on the issue of Article 370.
"We have said we want a discussion over the issue and would involve 100 per cent public opinion on it. Now that the BJP has kept a low profile on it, people who have worked on
communal, regional and divisive lines in the state have been exposed and started giving provocative speeches. We do not believe in provocative speeches," he said apparently referring to Abdullah's speech on the issue in Handwara on Saturday.
On the demands for scrapping the state's power sharing agreement with the Nimoo Bazgo Hydroelectric Plant, the BJP leader said, "The first right to electricity is of the state subject and then some share can go outside. It is our thinking and ideology that people in any state should have the first right over what that state produces."
The leader expressed confidence in the party achieving its 'Mission 44 Plus' and emphasised that BJP would not take support from any party.
"We are of the opinion that we would not need any support. Omar has said the BJP would need support to form a government here. You (Omar) be good or bad, that people know, but we would not need your support because we will get 44 plus seats and so you should not befool people," he said.