‘Referendum on army in Kashmir': Arvind Kejriwal disagrees with Mr. Bhushan’s comment
New Delhi – Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal today distanced the party from a controversial comment by his senior colleague Prashant Bhushan suggesting a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether the people want the army to handle internal security.
“We don’t agree with what Prashant Bhushan said about Kashmir, it’s his personal view,” said Mr Kejriwal, who took over as chief minister of Delhi a week ago. “Whatever the army wants to do regarding deployment, there is no question of a referendum on it. We do not support Prashant Bhushan’s statement.”
Mr Bhushan had said on NDTV’s “We The People” that in keeping with participatory democracy, locals in the Kashmir Valley should be allowed to determine whether they want the army for internal security or not. “It is very important to take the wishes of the people into consideration about their own security,” he said.
The AAP leader said the government should only decide if the army should deal with external threats along the border.
Today, he said his party would issue a clarification, and his comments had been “distorted.”
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has slammed Mr Bhushan’s remarks in a blog. “It is regrettable that a party like the Aam Aadmi Party which nourishes national ambitions, should adopt a position hostile to India’s interests. The issues of national security cannot be decided by populism or referendum. They can only be decided on security considerations” Mr Jaitley said. (Read Arun Jaitley’s blog)
In Kashmir’s decades-long battle against militancy, the army has often faced allegations of misusing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives it sweeping powers to interrogate and arrest civilians in conflict regions.