Condemning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Chandra Prakash Ganga's controversial statement that bullets are the only way to deal with stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress on Thursday said such statements are extremely unfortunate and will add more fuel to the fire.
"This is the most unfortunate statement. Nobody could have said such an irresponsible thing because we have known that stone pelters exist since long time. The first thing that the BJP did was to release the leader of the stone pelters Mr Mashrat Alam and today he is earning a mark in Kashmir. Along with him is Asiya Andrabi, who was also released by BJP," Congress leader Brijesh Kalappa told ANI.
"Now, both of them are going around and singing Pakistani National Anthem and following the Pakistani flag. They (BJP) have given passport to Gilani, job to Gilani's grandson and they have done everything possible to ensure that in some manner the people of Kashmir are totally disenchanted with the Indian system and because of this stone pelting is more, the voter turnout is less and in every which way the people of Kashmir have rejected this government. This statement will add more fuel to the fire," he added.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir activist Sushil Pandit said the BJP MLA is reflecting the growing frustration and anger in the entire country.
"The minister is reflecting the growing frustration and also anger in the entire country and also the confusion prevailing in the state government in terms of dealing with all these challenges to the Indian state. It must be taken in that spirit," Pandit said.
Ganga has triggered a massive row with his assertion that bullets are the only way to deal with stone pelters in the Valley.
"They (protesters) are traitors, whether they have come from Pakistan or they live here. All these forces, which are 'anti-national' could be made to mend their ways by the use of bullets," Ganga is heard as saying in the video that has gone viral despite ban on social websites.
"There is only one remedy and that is bullets. They want freedom from what?" he asked.
Ganga also lashed out at National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah for calling the stone pelters as 'patriots'.
"They should be ashamed. We want peace, brotherhood and harmony. We will not let these ill elements affect the atmosphere of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
He added that if not bullets, they should be handed over a severe punishment.
"Take my word that next time these youth won't throw stones. Till these people are handled in a right way, they won't give up their evil acts. Once they are taught a lesson only then they will they fall in line," Ganga said.
The statement from the BJP leader comes at a time when there is outrage in Kashmir over a video clip in which a youth is seen tied to front of an army jeep as a "human shield" against stone-pelting.
The controversial video has surfaced at a time when the BJP-PDP Government is facing criticism in the Valley over the deteriorating situation and the cases of human rights violations by the forces.