Amit Shah said Kashmir always was a matter of patriotism for BJP! Know how the party men broke the Kashmir jinx paying price of their blood!

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, once again slammed the previous Congress regimes over the politics in Jammu and Kashmir and hailed PM Narendra Modi for scrapping Article 370 in the first Parliament session of his second term.

Speaking at a seminar on the abrogation of Article 370 in Mumbai, Amit Shah said, “I congratulate Prime Minster Modi’s bravery and grit. He removed Article 370 and 35A in the very first session of the Parliament as soon as we formed the government for the second time with 305 seats.”

Amit Shah then attacked Rahul Gandhi and said, that for Rahul Gandhi Article 370 is a political issue, but three generations of BJP have given their life for Kashmir, for abrogation of Article 370. It’s not a political matter for the BJP party men , it is part of their goal to keep Bharat Maa undivided.

Amit Shah went on to slam the previous state governments of Jammu and Kashmir, primarily dominated by the families of Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah, for the corruption in the state.

“Rule of three families never wanted to have an anti-corruption unit and now the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is functional there today,” said Amit Shah.

Amit Shah said Congress sees Article 370 as vote bank politics while the BJP sees it as a matter of patriotism and therein lies the difference between the two parties.

The patriots of BJP broke the Kashmir jinx paying price of their blood.

A few days before January 26, 1992, the then president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Murli Manohar Joshi announced a yatra culminating with unfurling of the tricolor at Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

Joshi’s announcement had come as a direct challenge to the hundreds of armed militants who used to freely roam the streets of Srinagar.

Just two days before the R-Day they triggered a bomb blast at the office of the state police chief. Top officers, including the Director General of Police, sustained critical injuries just as they were holding a meeting on security preparations.

Around 10 miles west of Srinagar in Budgam’s Hakarmulla village, Mohammad Ashraf Aazad, a man in his early twenties, was following the developments keenly on BBC’s radio service. Ashraf couldn’t contain his excitement. He decided to visit Lal Chowk on R-Day to see everything with his own eyes.

Ashraf left his house for Lal Chowk early in the morning. He walked most of the distance. He lied to the forces that he is going to hospital and reached Lal Chowk.

Joshi got out of a white Ambassador car raised the flag on the pedestal of the clock tower.

Standing at some distance, Ashraf too raised his hand in salute when he saw the BJP workers saluting the flag. He was surprised by their courage. Within a few moments Ashraf was noticed. He saw a man in black coming towards him. The gripped Ashraf’s arm and asked him my name. Ashraf was frightened but he did as the man said.”l

Ashraf was taken to Srinagar’s Nehru Guest House. In time, he found out the name of the person who had brought him to the makeshift party office. He was an RSS pracharak and his name was Narendra Damodardas Modi.

Joshi and Modi interacted with Ashraf and they were impressed. He was taken along to Jammu and asked to work for the BJP.

His My work was to tell people that the gun will give us nothing.

The next year when Narendra Modi visited Kashmir, Ashraf was asked to stay with him. “Kashmir had only six districts at the time. Modi ji and I visited almost all districts,” said Ashraf in an interview.

BJP’s foundation in the valley was being. ng laid.

In 1999, during the Kargil war, Ashraf led a rally of yongsters from Srinagar to Kargil on the request of Modi.

By this time the party had enrolled the support of over a hundred local Muslims in the valley.

While pursuing engineering from a college in Chennai, Aijaz Hussain was influenced by ABVP. When he returned to Kashmir and started his own business, he met a BJP leader and joined the party, soon after, in 2006.

Being a BJP worker in Kashmir is arguably been the toughest political assignment, and continues to be so, for any young neta.

Several party workers have been publicly identified, attacked, kidnapped, tortured and killed.

Sofi was campaigning for the 1999 parliamentary polls with Hyder Noorani, the BJP’s candidate from Anantnag constituency. Near Thajiwara, a village in Bijbehara town of south Kashmir, their cavalcade came under attack. An improvised explosive device (IED) went off. “Our cars were blown up. Hyder Noorani and three of our local workers died on the spot,” recalls, Sofi. “I was lying in a pool of blood. Militants from a nearby hillock were firing at us.”

Yousuf was wounded critically. He was rushed to the hospital. He was operated-upon and remained bedridden for the next six months. Though political workers from almost every party have been attacked in Kashmir, BJP workers were marked more often than others.

Ashraf Aazad’s house was burned down a number of times. A day before Eid-ul-Adha, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, youth president of BJP’s Pulwama district, was kidnapped. Next day his bullet-ridden body was found.

Shabir, who had joined the party in 2014, was kidnapped by militants but managed to escape. He was provided security cover by the state. Unfortunately, when militants came looking for him the second time, he was alone.

Bhat was kidnapped from his home by militants in the evening. His body was found later with a slit throat.

The Srinagar office of the BJP still bears marks of the last grenade attack. Window panes shattered in the blast are yet to be replaced.

“At our earlier office there had been three grenade attacks and at this office, grenades were hurled inside the compound twice,” says Altaf.

The office is protected by heavy security and barbed wires are laid along on the compound walls.

The party’s prospects changed dramatically after the 2014 Assembly elections. According to the records at the BJP’s Srinagar office, the party has over 3.5 lakh active workers in Kashmir today.

The party workers are constantly live in fear. But their collective efforts and sacrifice has brought a change of mood among Kashmiri youth. So when Amit Shah say it was a matter of Patriotism for the party no one can question him on that.

Source: BJP leader interviews to various media.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth