Srinagar December 20 :
Senior Jammu based politician and BJP leader Devender Singh Rana who severed his ties from National Conference and joined BJP two years ago, talks exclusively with Editor, Kashmir News Service (KNS), Mohammad Aslam Bhat. He speaks on certain issues which include Kashmiriyat, his contribution towards people of J&K, post-August 5, 2019 situation, role of political parties in current political situation etc. Here are the excerpts:
KNS: How do you see current political situation of J&K?Rana: My politics is not based on religion. Though I am a Hindu but I want to empower every class of J&K and willing to ensure development in every area of Jammu and Kashmir. I believe every citizen of J&K should be treated equally as I had said Jammu residents including Poonch, Doda, Rajouri, Kathua others were ignored in past. I always wish that every class and citizen of J&K should be treated equally in terms of development.
KNS: It being is said that you have left a secular party and joined a particular one who wants to baptize J&K with a particular thought?Rana: I want to clarify that I am first a Hindu and I don’t believe in fiddling with other’s faith. I want to recollect those days when NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone spoke against Maharaja Hari Singh’s holiday in Assembly. I flagged my voice then in favor of Maharaja as I am Hindu first, but at the same time I don’t believe in suppressing faith of other communities. Few elements in National Conference (NC) don’t want prosperity and development of all regions of J&K. So sensing their intent I distanced myself from NC and I believe every resident and area of J&K should be treated equally. Even in sub-regions of Kashmir like Kupwara it doesn’t get its right in a fair manner, where as whole thrust is being given at Srinagar. I believe the uncertainty remains in J&K till both regions won’t be treated equally.
KNS: How do you see today’s developmental era?Rana: The way infrastructural and developmental interventions are being done in every part of Jammu and Kashmir today is commendable. Unfortunately in past such things didn’t happen due to some political reasons. Today network of roads being executed in far off villages which couldn’t happen in past regimes. If today Jammu is getting its share, other parts of the region like Doda, Udhampur, Srinagar, Kupwara and others are also getting their right at the same time. Ours should be an effort to take J&K to newer heights in terms of development and to empower every class of the region.
KNS: How do you see PM Narendra Modi’s era when it comes to J&K?Rana: I have been in BJP from last two years. The aim of the party is to execute PM Narendra Modi’s popular slogan ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ at grass roots level. Emphasis is being laid down to empower last person in the queue. There is no discrimination regarding any faith and religion. We all know that schemes launched by PM Narendra Modi at Central and UT levels are reached to every poor and neglected without seeing their faith. This gave a big relief at grassroots level. Free treatment, free medicine, free ration and other benefits are being provided to people. PM Modi has set guidelines in this regard. Whoever is eligible for the benefits is being provided and there is no discrimination. Today peace has prevailed in J&K and is not confined to any class rather everybody is reaping its benefits.
KNS: Political leaders are disputing government’s peace claims. How do you see it?Rana: These political leaders don’t want peace to exist but in one pretext or other they want to rake up issues that benefits only them. It is evident that due to PM Modi’s concerted efforts stone pelting and strikes have ended in Kashmir. You cannot find a single buyer of this anti-national narrative. We have seen 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016 and subsequent times pellets were used day in and day out, innocent Kashmiris were getting killed on roads, but today this uncertain situation has ended. Now these politicians want to flag up unnecessary issues and want to instigate masses against the government, but they should keep this thing in mind that New Delhi is not weak today. It is Modi’s New Delhi. I want to say here that Kashmiri Muslims are not bad but they are being exploited at the hands of these politicians who don’t want Kashmir to prosper. Kashmiri’s want peace but politicians want to bring uncertainty back as they always played discriminative politics.
KNS: Has Kashmir changed after August 05, 2019?Rana: There was ecosystem of terror. There was no say of Government’s in Valley. The handful of people were dictating people to observe hartals, protests and resort to stone pelting but after PM Modi’s strenuous efforts this menace has ended. The entire ecosystem of terrorism has been collapsed now. There was terror funding. I want to tell these politicians that don’t befool people of Kashmir for personal interests. Today every village of J&K is getting share of development. Peace and development is taking place. Schools function smoothly and students are getting their education without impediments. I want to compliment people of Kashmir valley who wholeheartedly support Amarnath Yatra. Without them it is impossible that Yatra will take place smoothly. Now local politicians are trying to derail this peaceful atmosphere and brotherhood. Today situation is better. Keep this thing in mind that development cannot take place without peace. So I request my people of both regions of J&K to come forward and play their role in making Jammu and Kashmir an abode of peace, and thwart nefarious designs of these politicians who made people of Kashmir scapegoats for decades.(KNS)