BJP opposes call for unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir

BJP opposes call for unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI Photo

Taking a U-turn on its earlier stand, ruling PDP’s alliance partner BJP, on Thursday opposed the call for a unilateral ceasefire by the army in Kashmir during Ramzan and upcoming annual Amarnath yatra, claiming such a step was not in “national interest.”

After chairing an all-party meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who heads the PDP-BJP government in the state, said, “Everyone agreed that we must appeal to the government of India to consider a unilateral ceasefire like Vajpayeeji did in 2000.”

Flanked by senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta, she said, “The government of India should think about it so that the common man can heave a sigh of relief.”

However, BJP state unit chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi while contradicting Mehbooba, said unilateral ceasefire in the present situation was not in “national interest at all.” 

“Terrorist leadership in Kashmir Valley is under pressure because of the prolonged efforts of the Army. There are large scale casualties of militants taking place on a daily basis. Currently, militants are holed up. They are under pressure,” he told reporters in Jammu.

Sethi said the call for a unilateral ceasefire was not a unanimous decision in the meeting. “There was no debate on it and BJP did not agree to it. Our point is clear that pressure created by Army on terrorists should continue along with 'operation all out' and to a large extent listed militants have been eliminated and only a few among them are active,” he said.

Claiming that the militancy in Kashmir was in its last phase, the BJP spokesperson said it would not be a wise decision to go for a unilateral ceasefire at this moment. “Relaxation of any type at this stage will mean stepping back on the process of restoration of normalcy in Kashmir. We will not agree that the hands of the army should be tied,” he added.

The meeting, which took place in the backdrop of escalating violence in Kashmir during recent weeks, was attended by 11 mainstream political parties, including National Conference, PDP, Congress, BJP, CPI (M) and other smaller parties.

In November 2000, then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir during Ramzan. The ceasefire was extended by five more months before ending it on May 23, 2001.