No curb on visit to Valley; leaders’ detention ‘local matter’, says Shah

Agencies. Updated: 2/14/2020 10:30:48 AM Front Page

“Goli maro comments may have hurt BJP in Delhi”

JAMMU: Asserting that there was no restriction of movement on anyone in the Valley, union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said that detention of Kashmir leaders was a ‘local matter’, and Centre was not involved in any way.
He also disapproved of statements like 'goli maro' and 'Indo-Pak match' by a few BJP leaders during the Delhi assembly poll campaign and said these remarks may have been one of the possible reasons for the party's defeat.
Shah claimed that any Indian could visit Kashmir, without any restrictions.
“Everyone, including politicians, are free to visit the newly-created Union Territory whenever they want to. There is no restriction on anyone's movement,” he said at a nationa news channel programme.
Shah’s comment came amidst the ongoing visit of 25 foreign envoys including many from the European Union to Jammu and Kashmir. Two days earlier, Shah’s junior G Kishan Reddy told the Lok Sabha that there are no restrictions on any Indian citizen to visit the Union Territory.
Shah claimed that detention of Kashmir leaders was a "local matter" and that the courts were seized of the matter.
“It was a decision of the local administration to slap them with the Public Safety Act. The Centre has no role to play in it,” he said.
Shah was asked about the detention of three former chief ministers -- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti .
“Omar Abdullah has approached the Supreme Court and let the judiciary take a decision on it,” he said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took a swipe at Shah by describing as "wise move" his claims that the Centre had no role in the detention orders passed in Kashmir.
"If EU envoys said that no one expressed concern about political detainees, I wonder which Valley they visited? Centre had no role in the detention orders passed on Kashmir says HM. A wise move, considering how laughable and bizarre the grounds of detention are," he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Shah also disapproved of statements like 'goli maro' and 'Indo-Pak match' by a few BJP leaders during the Delhi assembly poll campaign and said these remarks may have been one of the possible reasons for the party's defeat.
He, however, said the BJP does not fight elections just for victory or defeat but believes in expanding its ideology through polls.
"Such statements should not have been made. Our party has distanced itself from such remarks," he told.
Shah was asked a question about a few BJP leaders raising slogans like 'goli maro' and talking about the 'Indo-Pak match' during the Delhi elections campaigning.
He admitted that the BJP may have suffered in the polls because of the statements made by some of its leaders.
"It is possible that our performance may have suffered because of this," he said.
Shah said his assessment on Delhi elections went wrong but asserted that the result of the polls was not a mandate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
He said anyone who wants to discuss issues related to CAA with him can seek time from his office. "(We) will give time within three days," he added.
Strongly defending the CAA, which provides for Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the home minister said there is no such provision in the new law that will take away the citizenship of Muslims.
"We have never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion. There is no provision in the CAA which says that citizenship of Muslims will be revoked. Don't just criticise CAA, but discuss it on the basis of merits. CAA is neither anti-Muslim nor anti-minority. I am ready to meet anyone, but discussions need to happen on merit. Unfortunately, nobody wants to come forward and discuss CAA," he said.
Shah also said that so far the government has not taken any decision on rolling out the NRC for the whole country and made it clear that those unwilling to show documents during the the National Population Register exercise were free to do so.
He, however, said the NRC was a promise of the BJP in its election manifesto.
Asked about the ongoing agitations against the CAA, Shah said everyone has a right to peaceful protest but violence is not justified.
"We tolerate non-violent protests, but vandalism can't be tolerated. Silent protest is a democratic right," he said.


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