Won't revoke highway ban order: Rajnath in J&K

Union home minister Rajnath Singh Monday firmly ruled out any rollback of the decision restricting civilian traffic on Jammu-Srinagar highway twice a week for safe movement of forces’s convoys.

Referring to traffic restriction on highway, he said “keeping in view the security of our forces and nation, we won’t succumb to any pressure and will not roll back the decision”.

“I am sure that this must have reached to the quarters concerned and they should now stop making hue and cry over this,” he said, referring to the criticism of the decision to ban civilian traffic on Wednesday and Sundays on the highway till May 31. 

Promising to continue “zero tolerance” policy against militancy and extremism, Singh said the BJP will not allow anyone to play with the future of youths of Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a rally here, the BJP leader launched a veiled attack on the National Conference and the PDP over Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution related to special status to J&K, saying some leaders were misleading the people on different issues but the BJP would not let such things to continue any longer.

He also referred to the IAF strike across the LOC on February 26 and said the mission was carried out to wipe out the militant training camp without attacking Pakistan army or hurting any citizen of the neighbouring country, guided by the spirit of former prime minister AtalBihari Vajpayee who used to say that friends can be changed but not neighbours.

“We will continue to adopt zero tolerance against militancy and extremism and a secure India will lead to more determined India. For us, nation always comes first,” the home minister said, addressing his first election campaign rally here in support of union minister Jitendra Singh who is seeking re-election from Udhampur parliamentary constituency.

Without naming National Conference and PDP, he said the state had become a den of corruption under “their rule”.     

“There are some people who are creating new problems to confuse the people and speak against the government. The youths of the state are intelligent but what is happening in the state,” he said.

He said those who consider themselves ‘messiah’ of Jammu and Kashmir are only looking after their political interests and not thinking about the future of the youths.

He said they have no answers and are misleading people of the state by raking up different issues. “They can confuse anyone but I, as home minister of the country, have taken a pledge that we will not allow it to continue like that. Let us see what happens”.

Seeking votes for the party candidate, he said, “You are peace loving people and we will walk with you shoulder-to-shoulder and stand with you. We will not allow anyone to play with the future of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and will not forgive them”.

He said the BJP does not believe in politics of caste, creed, religion and sect unlike the other parties and practices only the “politics of justice and humanity.”

The home minister said the BJP will never compromise on national security and asserted that “unless we guarantee both internal and external security, neither Jammu and Kashmir nor India will become prosperous”.

“Some leaders are trying to gain sympathy of a particular section by raising doubts on air strike carried by our brave soldiers across the border. But they are living in a fool’s paradise as people are intelligent enough to understand their motive behind all this nonsense,” he said in an apparent reference to NC president Farooq Abdullah.

On February 26 airstrike, the home minister, “The IAF went there to destroy the militant training camp only and did not attacked Pakistan Army or hurt any Pakistani citizen”.

“What happened in Pulwama on February 14 when a suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy killing 40 CRPF personnel? They were here to safeguard the people of the state after leaving their homes. Despite the fact that militants are coming from Pakistan, we did not hurt any citizen of Pakistan or attacked Pakistan army. We only destroyed the militant training camp with so much precaution, remembering the statement of Vajpayee. But the leaders do not understand,” he said.

In an apparent attempt to reach out to Muslims in the country, Singh Monday said the BJP does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion.

He made the remark days ahead of the first phase of the LokSabha polls on April 11 when several Muslim dominated constituencies in the western Uttar Pradesh besides those in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal go to polls.

“We do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of (one being a) Hindu or Muslim. For us, all Indian citizens are equal,” he said, addressing an election rally here.

The home minister also said the NDA government’s policy has been for ‘SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas (Collective Efforts and Inclusive Growth)’ and it wants to take along people of all religions in the development process.

Singh also said Kashmiris living anywhere in the country will be given full protection by the government as well as the BJP.

He said advisories have been sent to all state governments to provide security to Kashmiri students and youths living in different parts of the country.

“Kashmiris are also the children of mother India,” he said.

Singh also said BJP workers have been told to provide all kinds of help to any Kashmiri who needs help.