Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday said the government would ensure peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir even “if 200-300 people are to be kept inside jails” for the purpose, PTI reported.

“There will now be only two paths for J&K – peace and development and whosoever comes in between will be dealt with sternly,” he said at the BJP’s first political event in Kashmir since the Centre abrogated the special status to Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. “There are many jails in India for those.”

Madhav alleged that some politicians from the state who were detained were asking people to resort to violence. “You can do your politics without disturbing the peace,” he added. “Some leaders are sending messages while sitting inside jails that people will take to gun and sacrifice themselves. I want to tell those leaders to come forward first and sacrifice themselves.”

Several mainstream political leaders such as former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, and Kashmiri bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal were taken into custody or put under house arrest after the clampdown in August. Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah was booked under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows one to be detained for six months without trial.

The senior BJP leader asked politicians not to treat the people of Jammu and Kashmir as “fodder” for their own benefits. “But, we will not allow such politics now,” Madhav said. “We want politics of development and corruption will be eradicated fully from here.”

He assured people that no decision would be taken against the interests of the people in the region. “Some people are talking nonsense about job losses and losing land with the abrogation of Article 370,” Madhav said. “I will not hesitate by telling you that the Centre is ready and new jobs and opportunities will be created here. All precautions will be taken so that there is no harm on the identity, culture, jobs and education of J&K.”

Madhav alleged that earlier only the vested interests of a few families and leaders in Kashmir were considered. “...But now whatever is happening, is happening for lakhs of families of this state... for the common Kashmiri,” he added.

He urged people in the region to continue their daily business without any fear. “What are you afraid of when everyone is afraid of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi?” he asked. “They are paper tigers and I know how much courage they have. They shiver when they get a phone call,” he claimed, without naming anyone.

Madhav also attacked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and said he does not know how to handle his country but talks of Kashmir every now and then. “He does not know how to handle his country and was merely saved from FATF [Financial Action Task Force] sanctions,” he said. “Our security forces are alert and prepared to handle whatever attempts he makes whether cross-border firing or militancy.”

On Friday, FATF indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets it had set for the country. The task force also warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if Islamabad does not achieve the targets in the next four months.

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