National Conference activists enact mock funeral of BJP minister Chandra Prakash Ganga over his bullet-only-solution remarks, in Srinagar on Thursday.
The controversial remarks of BJP Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga that Kashmiri youth should be dealt with bullets only are "disgusting utterances" which reveal "a poisonous mindset towards Kashmir", said BJP's ally PDP on Thursday.
"Such disgusting utterances are not only unjustifiable but perilous as well. It is unbecoming of a senior minister to dish out such a sweeping, sickening and intimidating statement against Kashmiri youth," PDP Vice-President Sartaj Madni said in a statement.
In a video that has gone viral on social networking sites, Ganga can be seen saying that the only way to deal with the stone pelting youth in Kashmir was bullets.
"They are traitors, whether they have come from Pakistan or live here. There is only one remedy for them and that is bullets. And if not bullets, they should be handed over such a punishment like the youth who are beaten with sticks by forces. Take my word that next time they (the youth) won't throw stones," the minister says.
The statement, Madni said, was also in contravention to the stand of the State Cabinet that, in its April 18 meeting, expressed 'deep anguish' over loss of lives in the valley and directed security agencies to exercise maximum restraint while handling law and order situations.
Madni said instead of reaching out to the "distressed and alienated Kashmiri youth", the "hawkish rhetoric of such fringe elements has the danger of further adding to alienation of people and impeding the government's efforts of restoring peace".
"Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had entered into an alliance with the BJP only with the objective of bridging the gulf between people of different regions of the state to new heights of inclusive development and prosperity," Madni said, adding "Unfortunately the unwarranted statements of such fringe elements are negating the basic philosophy of this alliance."
"Instead of bringing the people together, such insidious statements are unfortunately only going to add to the void," the PDP said. "Only a responsible government functionary can't be seen pitching himself against own people. We hope that good sense will prevail and the BJP leadership will take serious note of such uncalled-for statement from a senior minister of the party," Madni said.
The PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said the remarks of the BJP Minister shows the "poisonous mindset which they need to change".
"Look at the mindset and the language used, it is highly regretful," said Beg. "This will only hurt the alliance and this is not going to help the cause of ensuring peace in Kashmir."
Beg said: "This isn't what Mufti Sahab wanted when he shook hands with them (BJP)."
Hitting out at Ganga, senior PDP leader and vice-chairman Khadi and Village Industries Board Peerzada Mansoor Hussain said that such "provocative utterances smack of a larger conspiracy to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir".
"Such detestable remarks not only reflect the nauseous mentality of some extremist politicians in the state but also expose the larger design of certain elements to provoke fresh trouble in Kashmir so that Kashmiris are pushed into perpetual educational and economic disempowerment," Mansoor said.
"The BJP leaders should understand that any devious effort to flare up the passions in Kashmir would end up in spreading the poison of hatred across the length and breadth of the state."
PDP leaders' strongly-worded statements come at a time when relations between the two parties are at the lowest and the PDP has been facing flak for the deteriorating situation in Kashmir.
Remarks reek of communal mindset: NC
While condemning the "communally loaded" statement of the minister, opposition National Conference said, "Such use of terminology by a responsible minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government is very unfortunate and reeks of the communal mindset prevalent among those who are supposed to be guardians of the society."
The party's Youth Wing took out a protest march from the party headquarters and also burnt the effigy of the BJP minister near TRC Srinagar. The protest rally was led by Youth National Conference Provincial President Salman Ali Sagar and Srinagar district President Peer Afaq.
Chanting slogans against Ganga and the coalition government, the party workers started marching towards Srinagar's commercial hub Lal Chowk. However, a contingent of police intercepted the march at TRC Srinagar, said a statement.
While demanding resignation of Ganga, Salman said, "It is highly shameful that no one from the government has spoken against such rabid comments. The whole valley is going through a very volatile phase. Instead of de-escalating the situation, every effort is being made to escalate the situation. This is condemnable and will be resisted peacefully."
"It is highly shameful that police manhandled our peaceful march and did not allow the protestors to march further. This act of police exposes the tall claims of PDP-BJP government of giving space to peaceful protests. When a major mainstream political party is treated like this, what can be expected from the administration when it comes to handling protests by students and others? The rule of law is completely missing on ground and any semblance of government is missing," Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani told reporters. Taking strong note of the remarks by BJP minister, Provincial Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar castigated the government for maintaining a criminal silence.
"For the sake of power, Mehbooba Mufti has sold her conscience and has given in to the arm pulling of its coalition partner. In all this she has forgotten even those who have voted her to power," he said adding, "Time will come when she will have to pay a heavy price for siding with those who are openly calling for murder of Kashmiris."
Among others those who participated in the protest march were Provincial Secretary Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Muhammad Amin Rather, YNC office bearers Ahsan Pardesi, Mudasir Shahmiri, Womens wing Provincial Secretary Sabiya Qadri and others.
'Come clean on Ganga's remarks'
Describing the remarks by BJP Minister CP Ganga as a move to "vitiate atmosphere", J&K Congress said it shows the "mindset and politics of exploitation" on part of BJP leader who seems to be "more interested in issuing annoying statements than talking of restoring peace and normalcy."
"The Govt should come clean on Ganga's salvo, as the situation in Kashmir has already deteriorated to a great extent due to the wrong policies on part of ruling dispensation in the State," said Congress spokesman in a statement, expressing serious concern over the "wrong approach" of the PDP-BJP coalition with regard to Kashmir situation.