Industries and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash Ganga’s remark against anti-nationals and traitors has triggered a political storm among Kashmir-centric parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party and the National Conference (NC).
In a video that has gone viral, Ganga has termed stone-throwers as “traitors”, saying that they were fomenting violence in the Valley on Pakistan’s direction. The minister demanded that such elements be treated with bullets.
“All traitors whether they have come from Pakistan or from here (the state) should be treated with bullets. And, if not bullets, they should be punished like the youth who are beaten up with sticks by security forces,” Ganga says in the video.
The NC and the PDP have dubbed Ganga’s remark as “anti-Kashmiri” despite the minister not mentioning the word Kashmiri in the video.
Already sulking over the “treachery” of the BJP in the just-concluded Legislative Council elections, the PDP seized the opportunity to settle scores with its coalition partner.
PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni said that such “disgusting utterances” were not only unjustifiable but also “perilous”. “It is unbecoming of a senior minister in the government to dish out such a sweeping, sickening and intimidating statement against the Kashmiri youth,” Madni said in a statement.
Launching a blistering attack on the BJP minister, Madni said the aim of the PDP-BJP alliance was to cement relations among different regions and subregions of the state.
“Unfortunately, the unwarranted statements of such ‘fringe elements’ are negating the basic philosophy of this alliance,” the PDP stated, adding, “We hope that good sense will prevail and the BJP leadership will take serious note of such uncalled-for statement from a senior minister of the party.”
The opposition NC was also quick to reap the political benefits. It condemned the “controversial and communally” loaded statement of the minister who advocated the use of bullets against the protesters in Kashmir.
“The use of such terminology by a responsible minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government is unfortunate and reeks of the communal mindset prevalent among those who are supposed to be the guardians of society,” the NC said, demanding Ganga’s resignation.
Ganga sticks to stand
Unfazed by the attack launched by the PDP, NC and other political parties on him, Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga stuck to his statement. “I have not given any irresponsible statement. There is no reason to withdraw my words because I favoured strong action against stone-throwers and anti-national elements who are creating trouble in the Kashmir valley,” he told Kashmir Post. He said dealing with anti-nationals elements with arms was the only solution to frustrate the evil designs of those fomenting trouble on directions from across the border.