Government may press panic button on Kashmir: BJP

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 02, 2010 02:23 hrs

New Delhi:  The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Wednesday there are indications that the government 'is all set for some panic steps' on Jammu and Kashmir.

'The statements by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outside parliament and the statements by the Home Minister (P. Chidmabaram) both inside and outside the house show that the government is all set for some panic steps,' Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said at a press conference here.

'I cannot say what steps,' he said, but added that there were indications that the government was planning amendments in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

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'In that case, it will have an adverse impact on the morale of the security forces stationed in the border state,' Jaitley said.

Kashmir's political parties, barring the Congress have been demanding the repeal of the act, which gives sweeping powers to the armed forces in their counter-insurgency operations.

Asked whether the government had discussed the situation in Kashmir with the BJP, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who also attended the press conference, said it had not.

'In fact, it was we who went to the prime minister and held talks on Kashmir. We took our nine legislators to the prime minister,' she said.

Swaraj said her party members could effectively raise the Kashmir situation in the just-concluded monsoon session of parliament and 'articulate the BJP's independent line'.

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The Kashmir Valley has been hit by pro-separatist street violence resulting in a cycle of retaliation by the security forces. Sixty-five civilians have lost their lives in the violence in the past two-and-a-half months.

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