Sayeed attends Martyrs’ Day function, BJP keeps away

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today attended the Martyrs’ Day function here, from which its coalition partner in the state BJP kept away.

The official function at the Naqshband Sahib Martyrs’ graveyard was presided over by the Chief Minister but the BJP ministers did not show up, indicating strains in the BJP-PDP coalition government.

A BJP spokesman said although the ministers were in Delhi for a meeting with party president Amit Shah, the function at Martyrs’ Graveyard had no relevance to their party.

“The 1931 martyrs have no relevance for us as a party. If they do not respect our leaders like Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, why should we (reciprocate)” BJP spokesman for Kashmir Khalid Jehangir told PTI.

The function was to honour martyrs who laid down their lives fighting the Dogra rule in 1931.

He said his party does not want to do “emotional politics” on such issues. “The lesser we rake up these issues, the better it will be for the state,” he said.

This is for the first time in the history of the state that a ruling party, or a coalition partner, was not represented at the official function held on this day every year.

Congress, which was in power for 12 years in coalition with PDP (2002-2008) and National Conference (2008-2014), were represented by its ministers at the official function every year.

Even this year, JKPCC chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir and several other party leaders paid homage to the martyrs.

Addressing the gathering at the graveyard, Sayeed asked people to use their vote if they want to defeat the attempts made at eroding the special position of the state within the Indian Constitution.

“If you want to protect your (Jammu and Kashmir’s) unique identity and special position in the Indian Constitution, use your vote. Like they say ‘a diamond cuts a diamond’,” Sayeed said.

Welcoming the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia, Sayeed said peace in the region can only come through sustained and meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan.

He said both India and Pakistan have to resolve their differences by talking to each other for lasting peace in the region. (PTI)