Kashmir Unchanged Ever After Article 370 Binning, Shiv Sena Says

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SRINAGAR: The Shiv Sena targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government over the “status quo” in the security situation in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

According to report, the BJP ally-turned-rival questioned how the government’s bid to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two union territories — J&K and Ladakh — last year following the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution and demonetisation in 2016 to wipe out terror financing has backfired on it.

The Sena took a dig at the “strong” government at the Centre for unabated terror activities in J&K.

“It’s status quo, despite the scrapping of Article 370 (that gave special status to J&K) and bifurcation of the erstwhile state. There is blood on the streets every day and there is loss of innocent lives. Despite demonetisation, there is no respite from militant activities and circulation of fake currency notes, which was touted as a big challenge for the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),” said an editorial in Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, a Marathi daily.

Referring to an incident in Sopore, north Kashmir, on Wednesday where a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) man and a civilian were killed, the Sena said that the picture of a three-year-old infant sitting near the body of his slain grandfather is reminiscent of conflict-hit Syria and Afghanistan.

It blamed the government for the spiralling violence in Kashmir Valley while claiming that the tragic picture has hurt the country’s image on the global stage.

“The little boy was trying to wake up his slain grandfather… Some Central ministers tweeted this picture. These ministers should understand that the picture underscores the Central government’s failure. The onus is on the government regarding improving the security situation in the Kashmir Valley. Such pictures are similar to conflict-hit nations like Syria, Egypt, Somalia, and Afghanistan and are doing no good to the country’s image on a global stage,” it said.

The Sena slammed the government and Amit Shah, in particular, for his inability to rein in the violence in the Kashmir Valley, which the party claimed has spiked since he took charge of the MHA.

“Infiltration has increased in the last six months. Though our jawans have killed many militants in the past few months, the number of our forces getting killed is no less. It is said that there are about 170 active terrorists in the Valley,” it added.

The Sena reminded the government that despite repealing of Article 370, the ghar wapasi, or homecoming, of Kashmiri Pandits, remained a distant dream.

It also cited the killing of a Kashmiri sarpanch, Ajay Pandita, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in June, as a case in point.

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