Apni Party chief defends joining of Hurriyat activist, says it is democracy’s win

Jammu, Feb 12 (PTI) Defending the recent joining of a former Hurriyat activist, Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari on Monday said the doors of his party are open for anyone, who believes in the Indian constitution, irrespective of their past except those involved in terrorism and bloodshed.

He said those who were chanting “Go India” are now saying “Welcome India” and it is a win for democracy.

Zafar Habib Dar, a supporter of hardline Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, joined the Apni Party in Srinagar on February 10.

“Whoever believes in the Indian Constitution, ready to stand up for the safety of his country and understands that nothing can be achieved by violence besides believing that our future is linked to India is welcome in our party,” Bukhari told reporters on the sidelines of a party function here.

He was responding to a question about criticism from some quarters about Dar joining his party.

“Such persons are welcome irrespective of their past affiliation other than those who are involved in terrorism and bloodshed. The law will take its own course against them,” Bukhari, a former minister, said.

He said that many people did not support the independence movement and still they became members of the Parliament, members of the legislative assembly and ministers after 1947.

“Our attempt should be to defeat the nefarious designs of the enemy and make people understand that the Indian Constitution is accommodative to everyone. You have your rights and you don’t need to look here and there. What is needed we will get it from Delhi,” he said, adding instead of criticism, his party should be welcomed as “those who were chanting Go India are now saying Welcome India and it is a win for democracy”.

Bukhari said he supports the reported remarks of Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya is a triumph of secularism.

“I do not believe in criticism for the sake of it. The identity of our country is secularism and we are proud of our secular country,” he said.

Addressing the party workers, Bukhari said he sees a wave of change in Jammu as the people have set up their mind to give a chance to a new political party as they feel misled by the traditional political parties.

“The people of Jammu have also developed a feeling of disconnection with the BJP after 2014 last assembly elections in which the Jammu voted the BJP to power. However, the BJP failed to fulfil the promises which were made with the people,” he added.

While the country is witnessing the assembly elections in various states, he said the assembly elections are not being held in Jammu and Kashmir for the last five years without citing any reason.

“The panchayats and municipalities have completed terms, but no elections were declared for these democratic institutions as well,” he said.