Jammu and Kashmir industries and commerce minister Chander Prakash Ganga has courted controversy by saying that stone-pelters in the valley should be “dealt with bullet” and other harsher punishments. The minister also called the protesters as “traitors” and asked “what ‘azaadi’ are they demanding?”
“They are the traitors. Whether they live in the country or come from Pakistan, they can only be treated by bullets. If bullets are not there at least they should be punished, like beating them by canes. Mark my words and see whether they will pelt stones again. What azaadi are they demanding?,” the minister was seen saying in a video that went viral.
The BJP minister from Jammu also suggested that the stone-pelters be hit with shoes.
The comments came at a time when Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet expressed its despair over the loss of lives and directed the police and armed forces to exercise maximum restraint.
After the video invited criticism, the minister on Thursday claimed that the footage has has been doctored.
Speaking to Hindustan Times Ganga said, “I had said the enemies of the country, either from Pakistan or internal, should be dealt with sternly and for them bullet for bullet should be the approach. I had spoken about Farooq Abdullah, who termed stone-throwers as nationalist.”
Earlier this month, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and opposition National Conference (NC) president, Farooq Abdullah, said that the stone-pelting youth in the Kashmir Valley are fighting for the nation and for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of its people.
At least 14 people including a former counter insurgent leader were killed while more than 250 including 100 students were injured since 9 April in the Valley.