Hit by criticism, Ganga says ‘my video doctored’


Srinagar, Apr 20: Under fire for his call to use bullets against youth throwing stones, BJP Minister Chandra Prakash Ganga on Thursday said his video was “doctored”.
Talking to The Kashmir Monitor, Prakash said, “The video in which I have been shown as saying that bullets were the only way to deal with stones pelters in Kashmir is doctored.”
Ganga, who is the Industries and Commerce Minister, said, “The National Conference leader S S Slathia gave a statement against the BJP in a function at Jammu. Reacting to that I said that NC leader Dr Farooq Abdullah was singing Bhajans in Jammu while calling stone pelters nationalistic.”
“I said a bullet should be responded with a bullet and that anti-nationals should be treated the way army deals with them. This doctored video is a conspiracy against me,” he said.
He said the PDP’s statement against him was to “calm down” Kashmiris.
In a video clip, which went viral, Ganga was seen saying, “Youth throwing stones in Kashmir should be dealt with bullets.”
“They (Kashmiri stone pelters) are traitors, whether they have come from Pakistan or live here, they can only be treated by bullets. If bullets are not there, at least they should be punished, like beating them by canes.”
His alleged statement came days after Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, called for a dialogue to pacify the unrest prevailing in the valley.
“We will try to talk and listen to the problems of the youth who are involved in stone pelting. Our youth are very talented, but they are trapped in this situation,” Mehbooba had told the media earlier this month.
The Cabinet on Tuesday also asked the security forces to exercise maximum restraint while handling the law and order situation.
The PDP General Secretary Sartaj Madni termed “Ganga’s statement as sweeping and sickening”.
Madni, who is Mehbooba’s uncle, in a hard hitting statement, said, “Such disgusting utterances are not only unjustifiable but perilous as well.”
“It is unbecoming of a senior minister in the government to dish out such a sweeping, sickening, and intimidating statement against the Kashmiri youth,” Madni said in the statement.
He said the statement of Ganga was also in contravention to the stand of the State Cabinet on the issue.
He said, “Instead of reaching out to the distressed and alienated Kashmiri youth and address their concerns, the hawkish rhetoric of such fringe elements has the danger of further adding to the alienation of the people and impeding the government’s efforts of restoring peace and calm in the valley.”
“Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had entered into an alliance with the BJP only with the objective of bridging the gulf between the people of different regions the state, and taking Jammu and Kashmir to new heights of inclusive development and prosperity,” he said, adding that the “unwarranted statements” of “such fringe elements” were negating the “basic philosophy of this alliance”.
Instead of bringing the people together, such “insidious statements” were only going to add to the void, he said.
Madni said a responsible government functionary cannot be seen pitching himself against own people.
“We hope that good sense will prevail and the BJP leadership will take serious note of such uncalled-for statement from a senior minister of the party,” he said.
He asked all the “right-thinking people” to try to find a way out of the present impasse by engaging with all sections of the society in Jammu and Kashmir.
The opposition National Conference said Ganga’s statement shows “political bankruptcy” of the minister.
“Such statements will further deteriorate the situation in Kashmir,” National Conference General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.
He accused the ruling parties for “deteriorating” the situation in the valley.
“They are doing politics on the dead bodies of Kashmir,” he said, adding that the Chief Minister has “no control” on her cabinet colleagues.