Doors of party always open for secular-minded people: JK Cong chief

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani Saturday said the doors of his party are open for secular-minded people and closed for those with a communal mindset.

He termed the Democratic Azad Party headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad branch of the BJP and claimed it is “collapsing under its own weight”.

Wani also extended support to the Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees and Jammu-based reserved category staffers who are on protest strike here since May demanding relocation outside the Valley following targeted killings by terrorists.

“The Democratic Azad Party headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad is a branch of the BJP but those who have gone there from the Congress are secular-minded people.

“Our party’s doors are open for them and a decision to reinduct them into the Congress will be taken at an appropriate time,” Wani told reporters here.

He was responding to a question about whether the Congress will accept the recently expelled DAP leaders, including former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, former minister Mohinder Lal Sharma and ex-MLA Balwan Singh, back into the party fold.

“It (DAP) is collapsing under its own weight, sooner than expected. Those who had joined him (Azad) because of some close proximity soon realized the real game plan of the new party — to divide secular votes and help the BJP,” he claimed.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief asserted that people with a communal mindset people are not welcome in his party.

Wani claimed that those who joined the DAP felt “ditched by the fake slogans of the Azad-led group” which is yet to be registered with or recognized by the Election Commission.

He said all like-minded people, NGOs, political parties and others are welcome to join the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra being held against the “politics of hate, record unemployment and unprecedented price rise and other issues the common people are suffering from”.

Wani said the Congress has taken strong exception to the approach of the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration towards the agitating migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees and Jammu-based reserved category staffers.

Wani accused the Centre and the Union Territory administration of taking an “unsympathetic approach” towards the issues of these employees.

“These employees were performing their duties for the past 10 to 12 years after the UPA government announced a package for their rehabilitation without raising any such demands as now since they were not targeted,” he claimed.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief accused the BJP of “using the plight of Kashmiri pandits across the country to garner votes”.

“Instead of sympathizing with them and resolving their issues, the government is harassing them and threatening to stop their salaries.

“While in opposition, the BJP always forcefully raised the issue of security of Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities in Kashmir. But since 2014 they did nothing and are only shedding crocodile tears for them,” Wani claimed.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha last Wednesday asserted that all necessary measures had been taken to ensure the safety of minority community employees, including Kashmiri Pandits, in the Valley and sent out a “loud and clear” message to those demanding a transfer — no salary for sitting at home.

Demanding immediate release of pending salaries, the Congress leader said the party workers will not hesitate to join the migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees in their protest.