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Taking stand on Rohingyas, Article 35A is a tightrope walk for BJP, Congress

SP Sharma | Jammu |

It is a tightrope walk for the ruling BJP and also for the opposition Congress on the contentious issues of scrapping Article 35-A of the Constitution and deportation of the Rohingya Muslims that have created a vertical divide between the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the Congress team led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who separately visited Jammu and Srinagar to feel the pulse of the people and hammer out some solution to the long-stretched unrest in the Valley, predominantly faced the two issues as delegation after delegation spoke for and against the Article 35-A and deportation of Rohingyas.

While the demand of most political and social delegations that met the two leaders in Jammu was for immediate scrapping of the controversial Article 35-A and deportation of Rohingyas who have illegally settled in and around Jammu, but demand of leaders of the Kashmir-centric political parties and other delegations in the Valley was just the opposite to that in Jammu.

After first visiting Srinagar, Rajnath remained tightlipped on both these issues while interacting with mediapersons in Jammu and said both these issues were sub-judice.

Manmohan Singh who came with his team first to Jammu said that his team throughout the day received delegations discussing these issues. The Congress would keep in mind interest of all the three regions of the state, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, while deliberating on the issue.

However, a senior member in the team, Ambika Soni did not hide her observation and said both the issues were a “tight rope walk for us”.

The separatists and valley based parties in particular were exploiting these issues by threatening of dire consequences if any action was taken against their interests.

Reacting to the affidavit filed by the centre in the Supreme Court that Rohingyas’ presence in the country would pose a serious threat to national security, former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted on Monday that there was no intelligence input suggesting that Rohingyas were a security threat in J&K till 2014.

None of the visiting teams met the separatists, but chairman of the Hurriyat Conference Syed Alishah Geelani came out with a statement urging the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC)  “to play its assigned and outstanding role in resolving the issues related to Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Qatar, and issues related to ‘genocide’ of Rohingya Muslims”. But India made its stand clear by saying that the “OIC has no locus-standi on Kashmir.’’