Mehbooba is not deciding Indo-Pak relations, BJP’s Ram Madhav insists

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Srinagar, Insisting that the ruling BJPDP alliance is “smoothly sailing” in spite of those ideological and issue-based differences, BJP’s Ram Madhav has said the party was against registration of an FIR against the army in Shopian case. He has asserted that while Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has a right to her views on India-Pakistan relations, she is not going to decide it.“Talking or not talking to Pakistan is not for the Jammu and Kashmir alliance to decide, but the government of India,” Madhav told Indian Express in an interview. “Mehboobaji can have a view because she feels that if the two governments talk to each other, there could be a de-escalation of violence. But the alliance cannot take a view, its view is limited to the affairs of the state.”

“If the CM feels India-Pakistan talks will help contain infiltration and bring peace in the Valley, allow her to have her view. But she is not going to decide it,” Madhav said.

Madhav’s assertions came at a time when the two armies on Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) are busy increasing their escalations. Earlier, the two armies would shell each other’s position in Jammu and Poonch, now it has reached the Uri section. More than four villages from Haji Peer sector were evacuated in last two days to the safer Uri town as Pakistani guns started pounding Indian positions.

Asked about BJP’s views on Jasih-e-Muhammad leader Masood Azhar, whom, PDP leader Naeem Akhter termed a Chinese protected saboteur, Madhav said he is “Pakistan sponsored”.

“As per available evidence, the JeM has its headquarters in Pakistan, with a leader who has been named by the UN as a terrorist. Nevertheless, he (Masood Azhar) is protected by the Pakistan establishment, both the government and Army,” Madhav told the Indian Express. “All other opinion is the view of individuals. When Azhar was to be declared a terrorist or for the JeM to be banned, China intervened and scuttled it. So one might surmise there is a connection. But it is a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisation.”

Madhav has said the two parties lack a “major contradiction” on governance issues but admitted a few, like, “how to tackle terror incidents.”

“If you take the latest issue of an FIR naming an Army official (after the Shopian firing), we said it should not have been done,” Madhav told the newspaper. “As far as naming of the Army official in the FIR is concerned, we said it’s a wrong step. But you must remember, an FIR is not a statement of guilt. When any cognisable offence takes place, police are bound to file an FIR… This FIR only says so and so officer led a battalion of the Army through that area when the incident took place. Still, we said naming the official was not correct. Legally, remedial measures will be taken. But if one says FIR should not be there, the law does not permit it.”

Madhav has said in J&K, there is challenge after challenge. “Today, we have been able to bring peace to the Valley. Barring attacks by militants, the Valley is peaceful. There is a rise in tourist inflow, the winter tourist season went off well,” the BJP leader, who was one of the two architects of the Agenda of Alliance between the two parties. “But challenges like holding the Amarnath Yatra are there.”

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