The BJP calls for review of amnesty to 9,000 stone pelters, says 'No talks with those who don’t respect Constitution'

SRINAGAR: After ruling out a unilateral 2000-type ceasefire by the security forces in the month of Ramadan and during Amarnath Yatra, the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir has toughened its stand even more and called for a review of amnesty granted to about 9,000 stone pelters in the Valley.

It also asserted that there would be no talks with those who don’t respect the Indian Constitution. “We want a review of the amnesty granted by the State government to the first-time stone pelters in Kashmir,” BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta told TNIE.

He said the government has withdrawn cases and released first time stone pelters to give them the chance to reform.

“However, if they don’t want to reform and don’t want to come into the mainstream and continue to pelt stones on security forces, then we have to be tough with them. We also made this point during the All Party Meeting held in Srinagar on Wednesday,” Gupta said.

The BJP has also advocated creation of a separate force to tackle stone pelters. “We are of the opinion that a separate mob control force should be created to tackle the stone pelters/rioters in the Valley. The force should be provided special training and equipment to deal with the stone pelters,” said Gupta.

He said the J&K Police does not have the weapons and the training required to control the mobs or stone pelters in the Kashmir Valley. “A special wing should be created in the J&K police to tackle the rioters and stone pelters. Tackling stone pelting is not the job of normal police. The special mob control force should be given specialised training including handling of non-lethal weapons,” Gupta said.

BJP vice-president and J&K in-charge Avinash Khanna told TNIE that there cannot be any talks with those, who do not respect the Constitution of India. Indirectly referring to the Kashmiri separatists, Khanna said there is a simple logic. “Whosoever respects the Constitution has the right to talk. If the Constitution has given rights, it has also given duty. Nobody can say that they have no duty and only rights,” he added.

The BJP vice-president said their intention on talks was clear. “What was the logic behind appointing Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor on Kashmir? It was to hold talks with stakeholders in Kashmir. Now if people don’t talk to him what can be done,” he said.

In October last year, the Central government had appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor on Kashmir, to hold sustained dialogue with all stakeholders in the northern state. There have been increasing demands that New Delhi reach out to Kashmiris. Sharma has visited the State many times and held talks with mainstream leaders, traders and civil society groups but the separatists and civil society members in the Kashmir Valley have not met him so far.