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Reach out to people, not separatists: BJP to govt

September 25, 2010 21:38 IST

As the government came out with its eight-point formula for Jammu and Kashmir, main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday said it would support all steps which are 'anti-separatists and pro-citizens.'

"BJP favours return of normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir. It has always stood for strong signals being sent to separatists that India shall not compromise on its sovereignty under any circumstances," the party said in a statement.

The party maintained its opposition to any dilution of the provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

After a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security, Home Minister P Chidambaram announced that the government had decided to appoint a group of interlocutors headed by an eminent person, and would suggest to the Jammu and Kashmir government to release all those booked under minor charges, and also reopen educational institutions.

Chidambaram said the state Government will be advised to review the notification of areas as "Disturbed Areas" but did not elaborate if it was a prelude to any phased withdrawal of the AFSPA from certain areas of the Valley.

"We shall not accept any dilution of the provisions of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. Obviously, even para-military forces require the protection of this act in areas such as Srinagar. There should be no compromise with security," the BJP said.

In its statement, the opposition party stressed that government should reach out to the common people and not the separatists if it wanted to solve the problems in the state.

"BJP is of the opinion that instead of reaching out to the separatists, the government of India must reach out to the average citizens of the Valley and prevent their harassment," the party said.

The BJP, which had sent its senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to the state as part of the all-party delegation earlier this week, said it welcomed all steps which would help the people.

"In a nutshell, to the extent the government's approach is anti-separatist and pro-citizen, we will welcome it; any dilution of this position will not find support from the BJP," the party said.

The main opposition also said that there should be no discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh regions of the border state.

"BJP firmly believes that the areas of Jammu and Ladakh have been discriminated against. The people of these regions should not be discriminated against merely because they are strong nationalists and do not foment trouble. Their grievance of discrimination should be removed at the earliest," the party said.

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