Ram Madhav: ‘For peace, can jail 300 for 2-3 months’

Adil Akhzer
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav in Srinagar on Sunday during his first visit to J&K since the scrapping of the state’s special status on August 5. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi_

During his first visit to Kashmir after the scrapping of the state’s special status and the move to create two new Union Territories on August 5, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said the government would ensure peace and development in the region, “even if we have to keep 200-300 people behind bars for 2-3 months,” and that each job in J&K would go to youngsters from the region.

Addressing a political event in Srinagar, the senior BJP leader also said that several leaders from the state who were detained at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) were sending out a message asking people to pick violence and make sacrifices and that anyone coming in the way of the region’s peace and development would be “dealt with sternly”.

“Don’t believe that now there will be a loss of jobs and land after the special status is scrapped. Where will they go? No step will be taken against your interests. Each job will go to each youth of this state,” he said.

The BJP national general secretary was addressing a convention of the party's youth wing in Srinagar. (PTI)

“Care will be taken to ensure that J&K’s tradition, culture, jobs, education are not affected. Once the UT comes into effect, the government will make efforts in this regard. Don’t get misled. It is time to celebrate,” he added.

Speaking of the leaders in detention currently, Madhav said, “I want to ask, who was running violence here? It was being run for political benefit,” he said.

He asked political parties in the Valley to raise issues politically. “...if you think (parties) that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should have a right over jobs, it is a political issue. Raise it. We are with you on this. But don’t send out messages secretly from SKICC that the gun is to be picked up. This is not politics,” he said.

“You can carry out politics without disrupting peace. But while sitting inside jail, some politicians are sending out messages that the gun has to be picked up and sacrifices are to be made. I want to tell the people of J&K to tell those politicians, ‘you come first and sacrifice yourselves’.”

“Those who come between the peace and development, there are many jails for them in India. The state will completely shun violence and move ahead on the path to peace, even if we have to keep 200-300 people behind bars for 2-3 months,” he added.

Naming the Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he exhorted the younger generations to start a new political narrative in the state. “Two generations have passed. Now, I am seeing the third generation. As if there is no other leader in PDP,” he said.

Speaking on the situation in the Valley, he said people need not be afraid and that there was no reason to “close shops”.

“You don’t need to fear anybody. Everyone fears Modi ji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and whom do you fear. Be brave and come forward. They are paper tigers. I know how strong they are. Only a phone call sends them shivers,” he added.