An Interview of Shri Ram Madhav published in Times of India on 12 December 2016

Loaned out from the RSS, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has been responsible for several feats accomplished by the party recently, be it forming a coalition government in J&K or victory in Assam. Madhav speaks to Akhilesh Kumar Singh about J&K and other issues like demonetisation, surgical strikes and triple talaq.

How do you react to the recent violence in J&K and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah pledging support to separatist Hurriyat factions?

Kashmir is slowly returning to normalcy as schools, financial institutions and government offices are functioning properly now. But it is tragic and unfortunate that seasoned politicians like Farooq and Omar Abdullah are behaving so irresponsibly. I would say they should have strengthened the political will to take on separatists and terrorists. But their statements are directly or indirectly giving force to separatists and terrorists who have been so disruptive in the past.

Do you think extra deployment of forces caused unrest among people of Kashmir?

Whatever was needed in a given situation, we did that, including enhancement of security forces, which were withdrawn when normalcy returned. These were operational decisions based on the ground reality and the intent was always there to maintain order and peace to save people from separatist and terrorist forces.

As the BJP and PDP have won two different regions, is the coalition government a step towards ethnic and sectarian reconciliation in the state?

When we formed the government, Mufti saheb (Mufti Mohammad Saeed) had said the coming together of the two parties was significant at the national level, but at the state level, the agenda was to bridge the gap between the three regions . Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Mufti saheb fs agenda was to bring oneness in the state and that has been the effort of the government in the past two years.

But there have been reports of differences between the two parties. Like on Friday, CM Mehbooba Mufti walked out of the cabinet meeting?

On issues, there can be difference in perceptions. I am not aware about anybody walking out of the meeting, but there are issues on which the two parties had differences, which were resolved in the past. However, there are no differences on fundamental issues.

Some in the BJP want Ram temple as one of the main poll issues in UP. Your views?

This issue has always been linked to our national honour. At present, the matter is pending with the Supreme Court and we hope that the court will take it up at the earliest. However, our party will not raise the issue for political gains.

What are your views about illegal immigrants in Assam?

Let me clarify that one should not be confused with minority communities persecuted in Pakistan and Bangladesh seeking refuge here, and illegal immigrants. We are bound by what you call the Assam accord signed by AASU and Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.

Citizenship to minority immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh is still pending with the government. Your views?

As per the home ministry fs order, if minority refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Jains. seek refuge because of persecution, India will certainly consider granting them asylum and subsequently citizenship.

One month on, what are your views on demonetisation?

I have been saying from day one that demonetisation is historic. Such a bold and transforming decision was never taken. Day one, the Prime Minister said it will cause some inconvenience. It has broken the backbone of mafia and terror groups. This decision will sound the death knell of black money and illegal activities.

There are allegations that BJP is pushing its political agenda by raking up issues like triple talaq?

Triple talaq issue came into the public discourse as a case was filed in the Supreme Court and the court sought the Centre fs opinion. The government fs view was that triple talaq went against gender justice and equality, and also went against fundamental human rights, but the view was given when sought by the court. So, allegations that BJP or government raked it up are incorrect. Be it Allahabad high court or the SC, cases were filed by Muslim women. Having said that, there should be a healthy debate and why should one run away.

As one of the first vocal voices in favour of surgical strikes, what has the Army operation achieved?

Surgical strikes were a major strategic shift. The message was loud and clear that we don ft provoke but we shall respond appropriately if attacked. Today, we see efforts from Pakistan to sit and talk. In fact, probably for the first time, the Pakistani DGMO wanted to sit and sort out issues for cross-border peace.

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