In backdrop of Pulwama terror attack, resolution on Kashmir situation likely in upcoming RSS meet

The highest decision-making body of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will discuss the increase in number of terror attacks, locals joining terror outfits, and the situation in the Kashmir valley at its upcoming meeting in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior, according to functionaries familiar with the matter.

The meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS), scheduled from March 8 to 10, will come weeks before the 2019 general elections. It also comes in the backdrop of the recent attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama, where a suicide bomber attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy, killing 40 troopers. The Sangh has condemned the attack and asked the government to bring its perpetrators to justice; the Sangh cadre, too, has been instructed to raise funds for the families of the soldiers killed in the attack.

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“Kashmir has always been a sensitive issue for the Sangh. Developments in the recent months are worrisome. The issue is likely to be discussed and there could be a resolution on the Kashmir situation if the decision making body arrives at a consensus on the issue,” said a senior Sangh functionary who asked not to be named. Traditionally, the ABPS, which is attended by senior functionaries of the Sangh and its affiliates, discusses issues of national importance. On the last day of the meeting, resolutions are passed on issues that the Sangh thinks are of importance to the nation.

This won’t be the first time the Sangh is weighing in on Kashmir. In the past, issues pertaining to the situation in Kashmir; cross-border terrorism; and attacks on the security personnel have been part of resolutions passed .

After the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly passed a resolution in 2000 for the restoration of autonomy to the state and demanded that the Union and the state governments “take positive and effective steps for its implementation’’, the Sangh responded by calling it a resolution “fraught with disastrous consequences”. “It is clear that this resolution is a fallout of the Kashmir policy, pursued by various governments at the Centre — a policy characterised by mindless drift and thoughtless appeasement, in utter disregard of our overall national interests. Every opportunity to fully integrate the state, like all other states that signed the Instrument of Accession, was thrown to the winds,” it added.

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In 2008, the ABPS resolution highlighted the “porous nature of our borders and the concomitant threat looming from all sides”. Chinese incursions came up for mention, too, and the ABPS demanded that all posts along the China border be “fully and strongly fortified” . “With large tracts including Aksai-chin in Ladakh and Kailash Mansarover already under its occupation after it became our neighbour following its annexation of Tibet in 1959, China started making fresh claims over many more areas like Arunachal Pradesh making the border question a much more serious one,” the resolution said.

The following year, when the country was gearing for the Lok Sabha elections, the ABPS called for “crushing” terror networks. Making a pointed reference to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks; it said “…the Mumbai attacks have once again established the fact that Pakistan is the epicentre of global terrorism.” It asked the government to prepare the internal and external security mechanism to effectively tackle the impending danger from across the western border. The Sangh also criticised the “lack of political will in taking strong and effective measures even after such major incidents” at a time when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power.

On the contrary, after the Pulwama attack, the Sangh did not question the government but expressed hope that the perpetrators would be punished.

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Another senior RSS functionary, who asked not to be named, said the other issue that could come up this time is the Abrogation of Article 370 and reclaiming Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

“The Sangh has consistently raised the demand for abrogation of Article 370 itself. ..There should also be efforts made to reclaim Pakistan occupied Kashmir ,” the second functionary said. Article 370 grants special status, and a degree of autonomy, to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

In 2014, when the last general election was held, the ABPS? called for “reinforcing security at our borders by developing all needed infrastructure”.

“Our neighboring countries are trying to create an impression that the borders are disputed. So, we should not only counter their arguments in definite and unequivocal terms, but also think of measures to get them vacated from our areas, forcibly encroached on by them,” it added.

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First Published:
Feb 21, 2019 08:38 IST

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