Addressing the grievances of the people in Kashmir is the need of the hour, BJP leader Ram Madhav has said while reaching out to the agitating masses in the unrest-hit valley saying that when India says Kashmir is ours it also means that Kashmiris are also ours.
The BJP general secretary, the party's points man on the state, said the entire country feels and shares the suffering and pain of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Valley, as the ongoing agitation has caused "enormous difficulties" to the people.
He made these comments in a note shared with the central government before the all-party meet on Kashmir yesterday.
He said the "shadowy perpetrators and agent-provocateurs" of this mindless violence and misery should be identified, adding that "a dead body a day" is their agenda.
Those who become cannon fodder for this agenda are mostly innocents, in many cases young and adolescent, while the children of agent-provocateurs lead happy lives in the capitals of rich western countries, he asserted.
"The entire country feels and shares the suffering and pain of the people of J&K, especially the Valley... When we say Kashmir is ours, we are not talking about the land alone; it is not just about the geography; it is demography also; it is about people also. Kashmir is ours; means Kashmiris are also ours.
"Need of the hour is to address the grievances of the agitating people of the Valley. We should assure them that their grievances would be taken care of," he said.
Referring to demands of 'azadi' from a section of people in the state, he said the government will fully support them in their endeavour for "azadi from backwardness and under- development. Sky is the limit. Within the framework of our Constitution, the people of J&K have every right to demand more and more. The country will never let them down."
The fight for 'azadi' should be waged there, across the border, he said in a reference to Pak-occupied-Kashmir, because "our Kashmiri brethren under illegal occupation there are suffering enormously at the hands of the Pakistani forces."
Our democracy has ensured that the GDP of J&K is much higher than the Kashmir under Pak occupation, he said.
In the all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the doors of his government were open for addressing "grievances" of all sections in Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution but made it clear there cannot be any compromise with the nation's integrity.
Modi has also made a reference to atrocities by Pakistani forces in PoK and Balochistan.
Madhav, who played an important role in stitching up his party's alliance with PDP in the state, also cautioned the state government, in which BJP is a partner, against showing any laxity in dealing with anti-India activities, noting that this is a perception people get from a distance.
"The state must deal with violence, militancy and other anti-India activity sternly. Laxity on its part, a perception that people get from a distance, will harm the interests of the normal citizens," he said.
Madhav insisted that the governments at the Centre as well as in the state are committed to addressing all the genuine grievances of the people and restore peace.
"Genuine grievances of any group will be heard and addressed. The CMP (common minimum programme) of the PDP-BJP explicitly states that all the stakeholders in the state can come and have a dialogue with the state government. It will keep its doors open for all sections to come and talk," he said.
Today some of Kashmiris are mislead, Madhav said, adding that many more of them have fallen victims as a result.
"Not all of them are traitors; they are normal citizens like you and me, subject to feelings and emotions. They sometimes might get swayed away, but they are our own," he said.
"They talk of azadi. The entire country is azad for the people of every corner; every Kashmiri. Entire nation is today fighting for azadi from poverty, hunger, unemployment, disease and discrimination. Our government is committed to bringing about all round development in the lives of the Kashmiris and all other citizens of our country," he said.
Madhav also attacked Congress over some of its leaders' comments that Kashmir is our problem not Pakistan's, a reference to the government blaming Pakistan for the turbulence in the valley.
"They say that Kashmir is our problem, not Pakistan's. No one can disagree with this half-truth. This paradise on earth has been pushed into the abyss of separatism and violence by the actions of our successive governments starting with Jawaharlal Nehru’s. In that sense they are right that the problem was partly their own creation," he said.
Madhav harped on the government's development efforts in the state and referred to its package of Rs 80000 crore for the state.
Two AIIMS, one IIT, one IIM and several other institutions have been given to the state and big infrastructure and skill development projects are underway that will provide employment and livelihood to thousands, he said.
The death toll in the valley during the more than a month long unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant has reached 55.