‘Move will herald an era of development and democracy’

 BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

Turning J&K into a Union Territory and abrogation of Article 370 have helped put militancy on a leash, BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe tells Sagar Kulkarni of DH.

Q. Post Article 370 and creation of a Union Territory, what is the way forward in Jammu and Kashmir?

A. The very reason for the abrogation of Article 370 was to herald a new era of democracy and development in J & K. Atalji and Modiji had spoken about Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhuriyat. J&K never got the democracy it deserved. We find that local self-government elections were either not held or held in a sham manner. Now, the government has taken J&K to a new democratic era. Even in this atmosphere, the block development council elections took place that saw 90% participation. BJP has also created a niche for itself. The way forward is strengthening democracy for a vibrant development of J&K.

Q. Political leaders are still under detention...

A. Let the security establishment take a call on that. They are not under detention for partisan reasons. Maybe the situation would improve to such an extent that such detentions would become redundant. They could be released sooner rather than later. But, it depends largely on the return of normalcy in the context of security in Kashmir.

Read: Impact on collective psyche

Q. Has militancy declined in J&K since August 5?

A. The talk of the decline in militancy would be a little premature, but yes militancy is definitely on the leash. Otherwise, a so-called provocative decision by the government could have led to a flare-up. Also, remember what the Home Minister said in the Rajya Sabha. ‘Not a single bullet has been fired by the police in J&K since August 5’. This situation would also help us move public opinion away from the lure of the militants.

Q. How does the government plan to kick-start development in J&K?

A. I am aware of government plans to promote film tourism in J&K once again. Also, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations is organising visits of Kashmiri artists to foreign countries to promote Kashmir’s art and handicraft. J&K and the other UT of Ladakh could see a dawn of a new era of development democracy in the days to come.

Also read: The 370 aftermath: Beneath the calm in Kashmir

Q. The communication clampdown in Kashmir has met with strong disapproval from certain countries?

A. The “so-called clampdown” has not been dictated by somebody’s whims and fancies. There are restrictions on communications, but, they are not very extraordinary given the situation in Kashmir, where militancy and cross-border terrorism had a field day for years together and politics was confined to two-three families. Some kind of restrictions is essential for a reasonable period of time to undo the possibility of militants rearing their ugly head again.

Q. How will you take forward the political process when mainstream parties have lost voice?

A. I don’t think mainstream parties have lost voice. A few frontline leaders may be under detention or house arrest, but parties with or without the banner did participate in the BDC elections. People contested the elections as independents as political parties had boycotted polls. It is not the intention of the government to create stumbling blocks in the political process.

Q. How have the government actions resonated with the masses?

A. At the ground level, people do feel that a particular status has been removed. But when we tell them about the positive things that are likely to happen they are very happy about it. So far, militants have also not been able to foment unrest openly or clandestinely. I believe this positivity would build up in the days to come and return to normalcy in J&K would be a matter of a few days.

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