statesman news service
New Delhi, 6 January
A controversy erupted today over AAP leader Prashant Bhushan’s comments on deployment of the army in Jammu and Kashmir which were slammed by parties across the political divide even as his party attempted to control the damage.
AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal distanced himself from Mr Bhushan’s remarks, saying the deployment of army within the country should be decided on the basis of internal security threat.
Mr Bhushan had said that deployment of the military in J&K should be undertaken with the consent of people of the state.
The remarks were flayed by parties like the BJP and Congress. “Such ill-advised ideas must always be rejected outrightly. They can only disturb India’s security environment and a disturbed environment disturbs politics, it disturbs sovereignity and it disturbs economy,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
Congress leader Ambika Soni also hit out at Mr Bhushan, saying such issues have “repercussions and fallouts which you can’t imagine”. She expressed surprise at the “flippant manner” in which Mr Bhushan voiced his views pertaining to the sensitive state.
J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also said there was no need for a referendum. “Reduction of the footprint of security forces & phased revocation of AFSPA doesn’t need a referendum, just a courageous statesman to decide,” he said.
Later in the day, a statement was issued on behalf of Mr Bhushan. “I said there is considerable alienation among the people of Kashmir, which is primarily because of the human rights excesses by the security forces in Kashmir and the impunity from prosecution given to them by the AFSPA. I said AFSPA should be removed in order to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir,” he said.