New Delhi, Jun 21: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad sparked a controversy on Wednesday as he claimed that more civilians in Jammu and Kashmir have been killed during Army operations than terrorists. The statement came a few days after the Centre ended the Ramzan ceasefire in the Valley and a day after Governor’s rule was imposed in the state after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Azad said that in action against four terrorists, Army kills 20 civilians along. “There action is more against civilians than terrorists,” he was quoted as saying to a news channel.
Lashing out at the Centre, Azad reportedly said that the major reason behind the condition of Kashmir is that from the day PM Narendra Modi came to power, he has always talked about action. “It seems he always wants to use the gun,” he added while claiming that the militancy has only gone up during the NDA regime as compared to the UPA regime.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to react on the remarks made by Azad. Rajya Sabha MP and BJP national media chief Anil Baluni demanded an action against the former J&K CM for making baseless allegations against the Army. He also said that the Congress leaders should refrain from making adverse comments against armed forces.
On Wednesday, Army Chief General Bipin Singh Rawat had said that the imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir will not affect their operations. He also asserted that the Army does not face any political interference. His statement comes a few hours after President Ram Nath Kovind approved the imposition of Governor’s rule in the state.
“We only stopped our operations during Ramzan. But, we saw what happened. The imposing of Governor’s rule will not affect our operations. Our operations will go on like they used to. We don’t face any political interference,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The central government had on May 17 decided that security forces will not conduct offensive operations in J-K during Ramzan. While the security forces displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists continued with their attacks, on civilians and security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. As a result, the Centre on June 17 announced the conclusion of Ramzan ceasefire. The announcement came a few days after senior journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead outside his office. In another incident, an Army officer Aurangzeb was abducted and killed by terrorists in Pulwama.