New Delhi: In a rather controversial statement, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Lt.General (Retd) Dr DP Vats said that he believed that people who pelt stones at Army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir “should be shot dead” instead of withdrawing cases against them, news agency ANI reported. As per the news agency, the BJP Rajya Sabha MP in Haryana’s Bhiwani said on Saturday, “I read about the withdrawal of cases against stone-pelters but I think those pelting stones should be shot dead”.
His statement seems to be a reference to the Jammu and Kashmir’s PDP-BJP government’s decision in February to withdraw police complaints against almost 10,000 people charged for stone-pelting in the state. Incidentally, Vats’ comments came in the backdrop of Union Minister Rajnath Singh visiting the state and meeting people living near the border area in Kupwara and Jammu.
Singh had said that cases against “first-time” stone-pelters were withdrawn because “children make mistakes” and their future should not be in a jeopardy because of that. While on a visit to the state last week, Singh had reportedly said, “We believe that children anywhere are the same. We understand that some youth were misled into stone pelting…children can make mistakes… that is why we decided to withdraw the cases against those children who were involved in stone pelting.”
Singh had also appealed to the youth of the state to chose the “path of development” and shun the “path of destruction”, during his address at a sports function at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium in Srinagar last week, India TV.com reported.
Incidentally, last week, the Centre told National Human Rights Commission that security forces in Jammu and Kashmir could be demoralised by the state government’s decision to withdraw cases against stone-pelters and even stated that it could even embolden terrorists to use civilians as human shields for their terror-related activities, The Times of India reported.