Srinagar- BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said it was not the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah, but the then prime minister VP Singh and his home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, that were responsible for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.
Swamy’s remarks come in the midst of a controversy over the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, which depicts the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. Several BJP-ruled states have made it tax-free.
Muslims and Pandits are alike. They have the same blood. If you do a DNA test of both, the results will be same. There has been injustice with them (Pandits), which you yourselves are saying. The whole blame is being put on Farooq Abdullah, but it was the doing of V P Singh and Mufti (Mohammad) Sayeed, Swamy said at Navreh Milan’, an intercommunity cultural festival organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Forum, here.
The Rajya Sabha MP, however, said he has not watched the movie.
The BJP leader also recalled the kidnap of Sayeed’s daughter Rubiya Sayeed, saying it is still not clear how she was abducted, forcing the government to release some of the arrested JKLF militants.
His (Sayeed’s) daughter was also kidnapped, which we could not understand how it happened. Because when I became a minister in the Chandra Shekhar government, (then National Conference MP) Saifuddin Soz’s daughter was kidnapped by JKLF. Mufti (Sayeed) and VP Singh released 13 people from jail, but we did not release even a single person.
In the end, Soz’s daughter was released by JKLF at her house in an auto-rickshaw. They were afraid of our warning. We are not the ones to make compromises, Swamy said.
Earlier, the National Conference founder had found support from former Union minister and now Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, who said that Abdullah had opposed the release of militants in exchange of Sayeed’s daughter.
Swamy, while responding to a query from reporters on whether movies such as ‘The Kashmir Files’ be banned, he said he has personal experience of what the Pandits went through.
How can films be stopped in a democracy? (If you do not like) boycott it, he said.
Referring to the revocation of Article 370 by the Centre in August 2019, Swamy said the people of Jammu and Kashmir should forget about it as the special constitutional provisions will never return.
You should forget (Article) 370. It will never come back. When it is not in any other state, why in Kashmir?, he said, adding it was a temporary provision and one which could be revoked through a Presidential order.
Calling Kashmir an integral part of India, he asked the people to resolve issues through dialogue.
If there is anything, it can be discussed through dialogue. You should elect good representatives when the assembly elections take place, who can then talk with each other and resolve issues, he said.
The BJP leader said the country should focus more on getting back Pakistan controlled Kashmir and Aksai Chin.
Demands Special Force For Protection Of KPs
Swamy also demanded creation of a special force of ex-servicemen for the protection of Kashmiri Pandits so as to enable them to return and live in the Valley without fear.
Swami said Kashmiri Pandits have gone through a horrible experience in the 1990s and they we cannot have a similar situation once they return.
So, we will only tell them to return when the situation is good. My suggestion is that one lakh sainiks, who have retired now but still know how to use guns, be asked to live in Kashmir along with their families for five years. They will be given salary, etc for that.
Because when the Kashmiri Pandits return, there will be a special force to protect them. They (Pandits) have experienced a massacre and they should not have to go through that again, he said.
The BJP leader said this force will be specifically for the protection of the returned Kashmiri Pandits.
They (the forces) will have direct communication lines with the Pandit families so that they can immediately reach out them when called, he added.
Asked if the Pandits should remain in separate colonies or together with Muslims across the valley, Swami said it was their choice.
If they are not sure that they can live with Muslims, then they should live separately, he said.
Swami said while the Pandits have to be brought back to live here, the government should create an atmosphere conducive for it.
For that, discussions are going on. I can tell you that no government will last in Delhi unless these four-five lakh people, who were forced to leave, get justice and are able to return to their homes and get back their land and existence, he said.
Later, in his address to a gathering at the event, Swami said the Kashmiri Muslims should not have apprehensions that there would be separate colonies for Pandits or there would be any cultural changes.
No, it is not like that. It is their right to return, their right to live securely and they will get everything that everyone here is getting, he said.
He said the Pandits can live in separate colonies for five to six years so as to create trust that it (repeat of 1990s) will not happen again .
Earlier, Swami performed Pooja at the Chakreshwari Devi temple at Hariparbhat here, which was attended by scores of Kashmiri Pandits on the occasion of the Navreh’, the first day of the Kashmiri new year celebrated by the Pandit community.
For the first time after 32 years, Hindus have got the right and the opportunity to pray before Chakreshwari Devi on the occasion of Navreh. This is a good beginning and it should not be stopped here, the locks on the temples need to be removed.
Some people tried to massacre them and lessen the numbers of the Kashmiri Pandits by spreading militancy, but now that has ended. Now, we will together move forward to make J-K a progressive part of India, the BJP leader said.
This was just the beginning and with the help of the Centre, all those temples which were shut or damaged, will be restored and re-opened, Swamy said.
He also said a temple built by Shankaracharya in Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) will be taken under the government control .
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