Jammu : Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani Wednesday said the Army is being “demonised” in Jammu and Kashmir and charged Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with undertaking measures to weaken the anti-terror mechanism in the state.
Advani was here in connection with his Jan Chetna Yatra, a journey of mass awakening against corruption.
During his speech at a public rally here, attended by around 3,000 people, Advani was particularly harsh at Omar Abdullah. He said the chief minister did not have any idea as to how insurgencies are tackled.
Taking strong exception to the campaign for removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from parts of the state, the BJP leader said the “army is being demonised and the army is being considered a problem”.
“The fact is that it is because of the sacrifices of the Indian army, people like the chief minister are safe and it would be better on his part to leave the AFSPA issue to the army.”
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been pressing for removal of AFSPA from parts of Jammu and Kashmir and has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other leaders in that connection. The act, which provides sweeping powers to the armed forces, was invoked in the Valley in 1990 and the Jammu region in 2001.
The BJP has been at the receiving end since April when seven out of its 11 legislators indulged in cross-voting. The party is trying to revive itself in Jammu region and Wednesday’s show of Advani was a major effort in that direction.
Advani said his party would not hesitate in “launching another agitation if there was any attempt to restore autonomy to the state”.
The National Conference is pitching for restoration of greater autonomy to the state, which means reverting to the pre-1953 status when the state had almost complete sovereignty and control over all affairs, except defence, communication and foreign affairs.
The BJP is an advocate of abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian union.