Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge, says the government is showing zero tolerance against terrorism in Kashmir.
In an interview with HT, he elaborates on the Centre’s four-pronged strategy to flush out terrorists while extending a healing hand to Kashmiris at the same time. Excerpts:
Q: You have said normalcy will return to Kashmir within six months. What gives you this confidence?
A: First of all, I have not given any such date, though I did speak about the prevailing situation and our plans for the future. I said the security forces are quite confident that they will be able to bring back normalcy in the next few months. We have been adopting a four-pronged strategy for half a year now, and I recently told the national executive (which concluded on Monday) that we have been largely successful in our efforts.
“But, this time, the idea is to make no distinction between local and Pakistani terrorists. A terrorist is a terrorist, period,” Ram Madhav said.
Q: What is this four-pronged strategy?
A: The first part deals with tackling terrorism and militancy with zero tolerance. Go after the terrorists in a hard way…
Q: Do you think this resolve was missing in the earlier regime?
A: I don’t want to comment on that. But, this time, the idea is to make no distinction between local and Pakistani terrorists. A terrorist is a terrorist, period. Using this strategy, security forces have been able to neutralise a large number of terrorists in the last six months.
Part two is about protestors on the streets – the stone pelters. We realized that a large number of people who participate in such activities are influenced by propaganda on the social media and elsewhere. We need to tackle them with a tough hand, ensure at the same time that there are no civilian casualties. What both terrorists and separatists desire is a dead body a day. So, while tackling over-ground agitations, we need to ensure that there are no civilian casualties.
For that, we need to compliment our security personnel for the sensitivity with which they have faced massive provocation; had stones pelted at them; abuses and insults thrown their way; but largely tried to avoid retaliating in a manner that would lead to civilian casualties. As a result, we no longer hear news about stone pelting. This (strategy) has acted as a healing (touch) with civilians. Even if they protest, it is through largely peaceful means.
The third aspect is about the over-ground support network for terrorists, which includes some sections of the Hurriyat leadership, besides businessmen and hawala traders. We have proceeded against them through legal means, and many have been arrested today. That way, we have tried to choke the over-ground finance network of terrorists. The fourth and the most important aspect is the government’s focus on developmental activity. After all, we secured the mandate to provide good governance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP-PDP government has been working hard to ensure that the fruits of development reach the people. The chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers and officials are constantly monitoring development works. The Union government has also sanctioned a Rs 80,000-crore package for the purpose. This four-way approach has helped us gain good control over the state.
I wouldn’t say everything has returned to normal, but we have been able to largely control the influx of terrorists from Pakistan. Our Army and the BSF are doing a good job. The state police also needs to be congratulated for bringing the situation under control.