BJP hopeful of normalcy after recent steps in Kashmir

BJP hopeful of normalcy after recent steps in Jammu and Kashmir

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, visits Lal Chowk market in Srinagar on January 22, 2020. AFP

As the government restored 2G mobile internet services with restrictions two days after its special reach out drive of sending 36 ministers to meet people at 59 places in Jammu and Kashmir, demands grew for release of detained mainstream leaders like former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and others.

The ruling BJP is hopeful that gradual relief in internet connectivity and emergence of new leadership in the valley will help break the logjam after the abrogation of Article 370 in the valley on August 5 and will help to bring in lasting peace in the valley.

A picture of bearded Omar in detention for more than six months went viral prompting Congress leader Milind Deora to tweet and remind that his friend and the National Conference leader was was detained on August 4 lasts year. “Successive Indian governments have benefited richly from Omar’s economic & political views. Muting nationalists like him made our national discourse poorer. Complete normalcy must be restored soon,” he tweeted.

Apart from Omar, his father Farooq Abdullah and PDP’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti continue to be under detention since August 5 last year.

The social media also had varied reaction after the restoration of 2G services in the valley. One of twitteratis posted a picture purportedly from Kupwaraa showing a long queue of students outside a government internet facility centre to fill up their online forms and wondered “Thats how BJP is developing Kashmir.”

BJP is, however, hopeful that notwithstanding these critical reactions, the very fact that there has not been any major violence in the valley post August 5 last year and a new leadership is gradually emerging at local bodies level, its plan for massive fund infusion and creation of infrastructure and employment opportunities in the valley will be able to convince people of the “benefits of abrogation of Article 370” in the valley. During this week nearly 200 projects were inaugurated in the state.

During the week that started with ministers visit from January 18, more than two hundred projects have been inaugurated. The government intends to piece together the feedback received from the ground and work out modalities for effective implementation of different central government schemes which were not reaching the state when 370 was in place. “People of Jammu and Kashmir have seen what 370 gave them. Now it’s time for them to feel what benefits they are getting when the 370 is not there and that is our test,” said a BJP functionary.

Meanwhile Iltija Mufti daughter of Mehbooba Mufti dismissed the the week-long ministerial visits to the Jammu and Kashmir as "normalcy acrobatics” as Kashmir continues to reel under a “crippling internet shutdown and political leaders remain detained”.

Flagging that her mother and several other political leaders have been illegally detained for almost 6 months now, she asked “when will this lunacy end? She also dismissed the meeting of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as a mere “photo op”.

Congress leader Salman Soz tweeted " After seeing OmarAbdullah’s leaked photo, some are asking him to come back on Twitter and carry on as usual. It’s as if he is off on a holiday. The govt illegally detained him (and others), judiciary played along, most media asked no questions. You are complicit."

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