As the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir inches closer, the BJP seems to be getting into a celebratory mood. The party is terming them move as the brightest moment in the lives of people of J&K and Ladakh. However, Shiv Sena, their former ally and now opposition, has said that many questions remain still unanswered.
"The government must tell us what transpired in the last one year in the state. What are the gains and what are the losses?" Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP told CNN News18.
Taking a potshot at BJP, Raut said the government must explain why the region has been in a perpetual lockdown, the internet services remain blocked and so many leaders are still in detention.
Several political leaders including former J&K chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detaine on August 5 last year, the day Narendra Modi government abrogated the special status of J&K and downgraded the state into two Union Territories. While Mufti was lodged under preventive detention for six months, she was booked under PSA in February this year along with Omar.
Raut asked why, despite all the measures taken by central government, attacks on security forces continue in J&K. "The bloodshed continues and Pakistan continues to bleed us with a thousand cuts. Now they're even more emboldened by what China has done in the Galwan Valley. The Centre must answer all these questions. In fact, there should be a discussion on this in the Parliament. We had supported the government to pass the bill in both Houses. Like many other parties, we too would like to know the answers."
According to official data, a total of 148 terrorists have been killed by the Indian forces so far in the last one year.
The number of our security personnel who've been martyred this year stands at 30. Personnel from the Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have laid down their lives in the line of duty.
Close to 14 security personnel were killed in anti-terrorism and counter-infiltration operations. Of the terrorists eliminated, big names that had been at large for long included Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo.
Shiv Sena also reminded the BJP government to come out and declare the ‘ghar wapasi’ plan for Kashmiri pundits suffered exodus in 1990 after several targeted killings and have been demanding justice for the last three decades. But successive governments have failed them, Raut said.
Not only do Kashmiri pundits want to return home, they want terrorists Yasin Malik and Bitta Karate — who they old responsible for the killings against their community — to be convicted. They have been demanding better job prospects in the J&K government.
The central government maintains that it is committed to the safe and peaceful return of the pundits and to also provide for financial assistance for their rehabilitation.
Despite being allies for several decades, only to have parted ways post the Maharashtra polls last year, Shiv Sena has often been at loggerheads with the Modi government — questioning their actions against Pakistan and their alliance in the Jammu and Kashmir region with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Sena has worn its patriotism on its sleeve much like the BJP and continues to ask questions.
Meanwhile, the state unit of Sena has set up posters all over Jammu on the first anniversary of Abrogation of 370 and stated the next step for reclaiming Pakinstan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and China Occupied Kashmir (Aksai Chin). Keeping in the challenges of law and order in mind, Lt Governor Murmu has declared curfew in the region.
"The fact that curfew has been imposed yet again tells you the story of the last one year. There is nothing to take home. The government must tell the people of this country what has been achieved so far," said Hasnain Masoodi, National Conference MP Justice (Retd).
However, Union Minister Dr Jitender Singh hit out at the critics, saying, "At least three chief ministers in the state maintained a convenient silence to cling to power when their own daughters were denied rights. Now changes have been witnessed in their own households when women and daughters have been given property rights. This has been the change while they there is no change."