Peoples Conference chief and former minister in the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir Sajad Gani Lone said that the saffron party leaders’ remarks on Prophet Mohammad and Islam are absolutely “shameful and reprehensible”. The J&K leader said, “It is unfortunate that the BJP is sensitive to the criticism by the Arab countries while completely ignoring the sentiments of the Muslims living in India. It is a matter of shame that the BJP apologised only when there was a diplomatic backlash from Muslim countries. Ideally in a democracy, the government should have voluntarily acted against its spokespeople for hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim citizens of this country. But it seems that the sensitivities of the Muslims of this country do not matter to the BJP.’’Lone’s comment comes days after now-suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal’s controversial remarks on the Prophet triggered a global outcry and protests across the country. 

The Peoples Conference chief maintained that the worst thing that the administration can do is to go on pretending that everything is hunky dory since August 5, 2019. “The situation is tense and there is palpable fear. There is a feeling of violence being pervasive. We have seen these phases in the past as well however, there is a certain aloofness with which the current administration is being identified. Their utterances are overtly muscular,” he claimed. 

He added, “They may unintentionally be weakening the resolve of the general masses by virtue of an administrative discourse that seems to be anti-Muslim and anti-Kashmiri. The rulers and the ruled would have to live on the same planet for a cohesive response to the challenges faced by the people of J&K, he added.

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“The biggest problem we are facing today is that it is a people-less fight. The administration needs to get off the high horse and talk to people who have been around for decades. The people of Kashmir who have fought and sacrificed their lives in the last three decades are nowhere. There is this belief that to be an expert on Kashmir, you must be a non-Kashmiri. It must change,” Lone further said. 

To counter violence government must involve local stakeholders, who have been at the forefront of this fight in the last three decades, he added.

On being asked about the ban on Falah-e-Aam trust-affiliated schools that are affiliated to Jamaat-e-Islamia, Sajad said that the move is discriminatory.  “Selectively cracking down on institutions which have religious affiliations is grossly unfair and unjust,” he said, adding that “the administration must understand that J&K is an overwhelmingly Muslim majority state. They cannot possibly ban every institution because they have a bias against Muslims. It seems that they are intentionally targeting the Kashmiris for petty electoral gains in the rest of the country.” 

The former J&K minister said that the woes of the common masses on the ground are mounting with each passing day and that the administration needs to go beyond the rhetoric and make sincere efforts to engage the people of the union territory for a lasting solution to the present challenges.

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I4K Staff

India 4 Kashmir is a Pan-India movement to reclaim our lost ground and rehabilitate common Indians in Kashmir with dignity and honour.