Ram Madhav
Ram Madhav

New Delhi: Bhartiya Janata Party General Secretary Ram Madhav, who comes from the RSS leadership, disregards the Kashmir valley's pro-India leaders, claiming that "the so-called mainstream parties in the valley have always had one foot in India and another in the separatist camp." In an interview to Chandigarh-based English daily The Tribune, Madhav who engineered a coalition government of Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party (PDP) for three years before the break came, said mainstream means just three or four names, but need of the hour is to encourage rise of grassroot leadership outside these families. "Recent Panchayat and local bodies' elections have thrown up good leaders. They should rise in politics. That also will be our effort."

He said Article 370 that has been abrogated had been breeding separatism, which was one of the catalysts for terrorism. With that gone, there will be no barriers between Kashmiris and rest of the country. "When we said'Kashmir hamara hai," we didn't mean just the territory but its people too. Ram Madhav was emphatic that the Kashmiris have decided to pause and understand and that is a positive fallout. Asked how he says so, he said he said having seen the situation in the valley in the past when minor provocation would lead to major flare-ups on the street. Curvews or force deployments and even Internet blackouts are nothing new in the valley. What is new is the very few instances of unrest.

"I am sure that some more time passing, the mischief-makers in the political and separatist circles would lose their potential to foment any trouble. People of the valley would soon get a chance to enjoy benefits of the Modi government's actions." Asked as to what next, Madhav said Article 370 and 35A were axed because they were coming in the way of development, political empowerment and dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. These were also acting as a barrier for total emotional integration of the people of Kashmir in the Indian Union.

"Our priority now would be to take development to the doorsteps of ordinary citizens of the state. Political empowerment by way of full implementation of 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution that extends administrative and financial power to panchayats and extending political reservation for STs is also on agenda." Other issues on the agenda are providing more dignified life to all sections like the Kashmiri Pandits, refugees, migrant workers and others by way of undoing more than 150 laws mde by the state legislature using Article 370 and extending more than 120 laws made by Parliament.

Asked about the fear uppermost in the minds of people not only in the valley but also in Jammu and Ladakh that they would be dispossessed of their property rights, Madhav said: "Most of the fears were artificially created by the political establishment in the state for own vested political interests. The Union Government will take all necessary steps to address and allay the concerns of the people of J&K." Even J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina has expressed fear that the outsiders will buy out all property of the locals unless the government makes a law to protect the locals. Madhav said these are the fears that will be addressed by the Modi government to win confidence of the locals.

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