In an apparent comparison between the Kashmiri lockdown and past period of emergency, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that the detained leaders of the valley will be released in lesser duration than what Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other leaders faced during Emergency.
"The detained leaders will be released within 18 months, which is less than the duration for which Vajpayee ji and other leaders were kept in jail during Emergency," said Singh, while addressing an event here.
While stating that Amit Shah is very lenient, Singh said, "We did not send them to Kodaikanal where Sheikh Abdullah (former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister) was sent. They are given brown bread, have access to gym, and get cassettes of Hollywood movies. I say they are not under house arrest. They are more like house guests."
He further went on to add that the detention of Jana Sangh leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee, which led to his death, by the then Jammu and Kashmir leader Sheikh Abdullah was a mistake and despite some forces trying to give a communal angle to the abrogation of Article 370, it was and always will be a social issue.
"Syama Prasad Mukherjee's arrest and death was a big mistake by Sheikh Abdullah. It gave fuel to the fire of abrogation of two flags and two symbols from Jammu and Kashmir, which was finally carried out on August 5," Singh said.
BJP national vice-President Shyam Jaju and Union Minister Anurag Thakur were also present in the event organised to mark the birth anniversary of former Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh.
He said that after the abrogation of Article 370, there have been efforts to make it a communal issue by claiming that it is anti-Muslim, but this abrogation is totally a social issue. "This Article kept many common people deprived of their actual rights," he said.
The Union Minister added that the people of the region would realise the true benefit of the Central government's actions after October 31 when all the benefits reach them.
"After October 31 when they will get the benefits of the Centre, people will know how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done good to them," Singh said.
Giving the background of the Centre's decision on Jammu and Kashmir, he said: "The stepping stone of abrogating the provision of Article 370 was laid during the Amarnath agitation in 2008 when people and leaders of Jammu took to streets for three months."
BJP national vice president Shyam Jaju, while attacking Kashmiri leaders, said: "Maharaj Hari Singh had given powers to the common people before 1947 but the rulers after 1947 did not. Just one family enjoyed and earned money and did not do anything for the people.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)