BJP Kashmir Cadre Quitting Over Militant Threats, 35A

Srinagar: Militant threats and the controversy over Article 35A have triggered resignations from the Kashmir unit of the BJP. The resignations have mostly come from the militancy hotbed south Kashmir in the wake of the recent killing of a BJP leader on the day of Eid in Pulwama district.

At the same time, videos released on the social media have created a scare among Valley-based BJP leaders.

“The killing of Shabbir Ahmed Bhat on Eid shocked us. We are not bogged down or demoralised, but there is a need for a security review. When our national vice-president Avanish Rai Khanna came here to pay tributes to Shabbir, we conveyed a message to the Centre that there is a need to review the security of our cadre… There have been a few resignations, but not on a large scale. This is mainly due to security or personal reasons. Moreover, videos on Facebook are also threatening the BJP workers and asking them to resign,” said Altaf Thakur, a BJP spokesman.

However, Bilal Parray, who resigned as the state vice-president of the youth wing and also from the party, warned of mass resignation over Article 35A.

“Around 25 persons left the party with me…we have no association with the BJP anymore…. There will be mass resignations over Article 35A soon…The provision should be strengthened,” said Parray, who had recently termed the killing of the BJP leader in Pulwama “highly condemnable that clearly exposes the frustration of anti-national elements who have no respect for religion of peace”. He also termed the BJP ‘anti-Muslim’ and anti-Kashmir’.

Other resignations came from Raja Waseem, who was youth president for Shopian district, and Riyaz Mir, district vice-president for Pulwama. The resignation came after the killing of Bhat, which had also forced several BJP leaders to shift to the summer capital. However, Thakur said Waseem had joined the JDU, while Mir resigned due to personal reasons.

The resignations and sense of insecurity have also come at a time when the BJP was endeavouring to spread its base in the Valley.

Arif Raja, BJP district president, Srinagar, said spreading party ideology was not an easy task in the Valley and that their workers had suffered attacks before also, especially during the 2016 unrest. As per the BJP, 19 of its workers were attacked by mobs in 2016. (The Tribune)

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