On a day when the government of India announced a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party for Jammu and Kashmir, Ravinder Raina, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was coming to Kashmir on Saturday with a message of hope and peace.
Raina arrived in Srinagar today from New Delhi after meeting with Modi and the BJP president Amit Shah. He had gone there to seek their blessings after having been chosen to head the state unit of the party. Speaking to the party activists in Srinagar today he said, "Narendra Modiji is the only Prime Minister who spent Diwali and visited the Valley during floods. BJP will follow the footsteps of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who wrote a new chapter in the history of India and Pakistan by starting the Srinagar-Muzzafferabad Bus."
Raina's hopes for the party's Kashmir unit are set very high. He feels that in every Kashmiri house a lotus (BJP symbol) will bloom. Trying to dispel the perception that somehow his party's stance on the Kathua rape and murder case was vague and ambiguous, he said, "I know that the Kathua rape and murder case is sub-judice and we need not comment on it, yet I know that the most powerful institution in our country is the judiciary. Those guilty of this heinous crime would get exemplary punishment and no innocent person would suffer."
Incidentally, Raina's appointment is seen as BJP's move to regain the "lost ground" in Jammu, after the Kathua rape and murder case. Many accuse the BJP of playing second fiddle to the PDP's during the investigation of the case by the Crime Branch.
The Mehbooba Mufti-led government had rejected the demand of various BJP legislators including Raina to transfer rape and murder case of eight-year-old girl to the CBI. The Chief Minister had also expressed anger over the rally of Hindu Ekta Manch that had sought release of the rape and murder accused.
Raina said he wants strong Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. He spoke about Sufism and culture of Kashmir. "We will continue with these values", he said.
Taking a dig at Congress for what he said was ruining India after ruling for 60 years, Raina said BJP is the only party that has managed to keep the flock together. He said every Muslim feels secure under the BJP's rule and more steps will be taken for the safety and security of Muslims across India. Raina said time is not far when every house in Kashmir will see a Lotus bloom and BJP would be the only party here, which people would trust.