Washington: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “massively opening up” space for militants in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to an increase in violence.
Addressing students at the University of California in Berkeley, Gandhi said the decision by Modi to have a political tie-up with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a “strategic mistake”.
“The PDP was the instrument that brought Kashmiri youngsters into the political process. And the day Mr Narendra Modi made an alliance between the PDP and the BJP, it destroyed the PDP as an instrument that could bring youngsters into the political system.
“And the day he did that, he massively opened up space for terrorists in Kashmir and they came in. And you saw a massive increase in violence,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said the intelligence personnel in Jammu and Kashmir told him that a large number of members of the PDP have suddenly gone towards the militants.
“When you take these strategic decisions to take a little bit of political advantage, you do tremendous damage to the country. Today the space in Jammu and Kashmir has been opened up, not only for the Pakistanis, but for other players in the region. And it is going to impose a massive, massive strategic cost on India,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi claimed that for nine years, he had worked behind the scene with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to improve the situation in Kashmir.
“The results were there for all to see as militancy was at an all-time low and tourism flourished in Kashmir,” he said.
After the 2014 elections, the PDP and the BJP tied up an alliance to form a government in the state.