Srinagar: Rattled by unending protests, and rising defiance by college students, senior Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders from J&K have told its national General Secretary, Ram Madhav, to initiate dialogue with pro-freedom groups in Kashmir. BJP hopes that the dialogue will restore normalcy in Kashmir.
The meeting was held at BJP’s state unit office in Trikuta Nagar Jammu and was attended by Madhav and several BJP leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.
“Madhav sought details from the leaders regarding the Kashmir situation,” a senior BJP leader, who attended the meeting, said. “Nobody said the situation was good in Kashmir. Everybody told him that it was getting worse”.
The BJP leader said that the participants in the meeting expressed real concern and shock over the fact that students were coming out in large numbers and joining the “secessionist protests”. “This was something more worrying for the leaders in the meeting,” the leader said.
Over 100 students were injured during the pro-freedom student protest across Kashmir valley in past few days. The protests were described by the observers as historic.
“Some leaders who put forward their views said the radicalization due to the social media was the reason that students and other civilians joined the protests. They said the people were lured by miscreants on Facebook and WhatsApp. Some said the videos featuring protests, deliberately being circulated, were instigating people,” the leader said.
The government has repeatedly blamed social media sites for radicalizing youth in Kashmir. Police had claimed that militant groups have control over WhatsApp groups, each having more than 250 members. They further claimed that the local authorities have blocked over 10,000 Facebook accounts and 500 WhatsApp groups, tracing connections with militant groups operating with the help of Pakistan.
The BJP leader, however, said there was a consensus that government needs to engage in open talks with “separatist groups like Hurriyat and the neighboring country”.
“Almost everybody agreed that if former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, could bring a hard line leader like L K Advani on the table, made him to sit with Hurriyat, why cannot we do it now,” the BJP leader added.
The leader said that the participants, quoting Vajpayee, stated that the talks should be also initiated with the neighboring country since the neighbors cannot be changed.
BJP leader and former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, took a bold move to become the first BJP leader to open talks with Hurriyat and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
The leader further said that a youth engagement programme was also discussed in the meeting. “We told them the youth needs to be engaged in police, army and other paramilitary forces so that they can earn livelihood. Many youth programmes will be initiated,” the leader said.
Later, BJP leader said the Director General of Police, SP Vaid, and finance minister, Haseeb Drabu, called upon Madhav to discuss the Kashmir situation.