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RSS discusses Kashmir unrest in Jammu, calls for dealing firmly with separatists

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 20 July 2017, 21:22 IST
(AFP photo)

The unrest in Kashmir dominated the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) first ever conclave in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its brass deliberated on ways and means to 'firmly' deal with separatists, and also gain a foothold in the Valley.

Over 200 state and regional-level pracharaks from across the country attended the three-day annual summit at Jammu's Ved Mandir complex, which concluded on Thursday. The summit was presided over by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, and other top functionaries, including Dattatreya Hosabale and Suresh Soni.

Key BJP leaders, including party national secretary Ram Madhav and Jammu & Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh also held talks with Bhagwat.

“The summit aimed to send across a strong message that Kashmir is an integral part of Bharat, and there can be no compromise on the country's security and integrity,” an RSS functionary told Catch.

Situation in the Valley

The RSS brass discussed at the length the unrest that engulfed the Valley for months following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last July.

While hailing the National Investigation Agency's crackdown on terror funding meant to fuel unrest in the Valley, the RSS called for firmly dealing with separatist leaders.

“Unrest in the Valley and terrorism cannot be countered until the separatists are tackled firmly. They don't consider Kashmir a part of India, but enjoy all perks, including security. Our demand is that the government should immediately crack down on them, beginning with the withdrawal of their security,” said the functionary.

Central agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the NIA, have been probing the funding of Hurriyat leaders. Besides raiding locations across the Valley, as well as in Delhi, the NIA has arrested several separatist leaders, including Altaf Ahmad Shah, son-in-law of senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Bhagwat also held talks with Nirmal Singh, who briefed him about the steps taken by the Mehbooba Mufti led BJP-PDP government in dealing with the unrest in the Valley. He also enquired about the lynching of Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammed Ayub Pandith near the Jamia Masjid in June.

According to sources, Bhagwat expressed deep anguish over the Amarnath Yatra attack, in which eight pilgrims were killed, and asked Singh to ensure a proactive role by the state government in the Valley in dealing with terrorism and separatism.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad and NDA ally Shiv Sena have been attacking the Mehbooba government over the prolonged violence in the Valley, demanding its dismissal.

Article 35A

There were also lengthy discussions on Article 35A of the Constitution, which accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir. The RSS has been demanding the abrogation of the Constitutional provision, which it calls the “country's biggest constitutional fraud”.

Added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, the Article empowers the state legislature to define 'permanent residents' of the state, and provide special rights and privileges to them in respect of employment, acquisition of immovable property and settlement.

At the meeting, it was decided that the Sangh will work towards building a national consensus on the article being unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a PIL filed by Delhi-based NGO 'We The Citizens', challenging the Constitutional validity of the Article.

At the last hearing on 17 July, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar that a larger debate on the issue was essential, as the matter was 'very sensitive'.

The leaders also resolved to gain a foothold in the Valley by taking the Sangh ideology to the people at the grassroots.

Situation in Bengal

While the majority of the focus was on Kashmir and terrorism, Sangh leaders also discussed the situation in West Bengal.

While lauding the efforts of the activists in spreading the RSS's reach in Bengal, the leaders called for intensified efforts to counter the rising 'Jihadi' threat in the state.

Expressing grave concern over 'Jihadi' elements under the patronage of the Mamata Banerjee government, and the declining Hindu population in the state, the RSS, in March, had adopted a resolution to 'save Bengal'.

“The leaders expressed concerns over Muslims increasingly resorting to violence and running amok in the state, and called for intensifying the efforts to counter the fast rising threat. Special initiatives have been chalked out to counter the Mamata government's patronising these jihadi elements,” said the functionary.

“Provisions have been made for providing legal and financial assistance to our activists and supporters, who are being framed and arrested by the Mamata regime.”

Bhagwat will visit Bengal on 22 July.

First published: 20 July 2017, 21:22 IST