Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that the BJP came to power by pitching militancy in the state against the rest of the country.Azad, who is a member of the Congress' policy planning group on Jammu and Kashmir led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for growing incidents of violence in the state.
"One soldier was beheaded during the UPA government in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists and the BJP exploited the issue to the hilt against the Congress."Such incidents have also taken place during Modi government and they do not talk about it now," Azad said.He was speaking to the media after the Congress group arrived in Srinagar to interact with "like-minded" people to find the way forward to end violence in the state.Asked whether the Congress would engage in talks with separatist Hurriyat leaders, Azad said: "I have seen the list of 45 political parties and other groups we will be meeting here, but I did not find Hurriyat in that list."
He, however, put the ball in the government's court, saying Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been speaking of a dialogue with all stakeholders to solve the Kashmir problem."But she is shying away from naming who these stakeholders are," he said.The Congress leaders are meeting the delegations at the Hari Niwas guest house in the high security Gupkar Road area of Srinagar.Clarifying that they have not come to J&K just for the issue of Section 35A, dealing with the permanent residents of the state and their citizenship rights, Azad said the group was formed well before that keeping in view the situation in the state.Asserting that the situation during the Congress rule was much better, Azad said there were a number of young people who have suffered serious injuries including loss of sight in the violence.Before coming to the Kashmir valley, the members of the committee had gone to Jammu where they interacted with a large number of people and met delegations. "We had 35 meetings in Jammu and about 45 to 50 in Kashmir and now we are going to Ladakh. We have come to hear the people, what they want to say."