Protest in POK becomes an election issue in India, what can be the impact on LoC?

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
7 Min Read

New Delhi : People have been protesting in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir i.e. POK for the last several days. Pictures and video clips of people present there waving the Indian tricolor in protest are going viral on social media. Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in India, BJP leaders have given many statements on the issue of PoK. From reiterating that 'PoK is part of India', to saying that BJP needs more than 400 seats so that PoK can be included in India. Apart from politics, what will be the impact of protests in PoK on LOC? Experts have different opinions regarding this.

Terrorist infiltration efforts may intensify to divert attention

Answering the question what effect can the protests in POK have on the LOC (Line of Control), Lieutenant General Sanjay Kulkarni (Retd) says that when voices are raised against the administration in POK and the protests intensify. If this is so, then people from there may try to come towards us here, so we have to be alert. He said that when people come in large numbers, there could be terrorists along with them, hence vigilance is necessary. If we allow people from there to come here, then refugee crisis may arise again and we have seen this in 1971 when a large number of refugees from Bangladesh came here. He said that when PoK joins India, the people there will also become ours. He says that the ongoing protests in PoK will help us in a way. That area itself is slowly coming towards us.

Lieutenant General Kulkarni said that as the Defense Minister had also said a few days ago, the people there are so upset that they will merge with India themselves. He said that terrorism is also an aspect of it. On the other side of the LOC, there are launch pads of terrorists in POK itself, who are supported by the army there. To divert attention from the protests, they may increase terrorist infiltration efforts. Therefore, we have to keep an eye on every action of the terrorist launch pad. However, Major General Ashok Kumar (retired) says that due to protests in PoK, terrorists will not be able to infiltrate so easily. He said that the stronger the protests there, the less will be the possibility of terrorist infiltration. Pakistan's army supports the terrorists and helps in infiltration, but when the local people oppose the administration and government there, it will not be easy for the terrorists to infiltrate.

PoK needs to cross 400!

The protests taking place in PoK are becoming an election issue in India too. Where Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah said that POK is ours and we will take it. Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that we need 400 seats so that we can take PoK. While campaigning in Delhi, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Congress asks why 400 seats are needed. He said that when Congress was in power, we were told that Kashmir is in a way both in India and in Pakistan. There was never any discussion in our Parliament that the Kashmir which is with Pakistan is Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. There people are protesting against Pakistan holding the Indian tricolor in their hands. He said that this is the beginning. If Modi ji gets 400 seats then Pakistan Occupied Kashmir will also become India's and this has already started.

At a rally in West Bengal, Amit Shah said that when there was a coalition government in India, there used to be strikes in our Kashmir. Then slogans of independence were raised here, now slogans of independence are being raised in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Earlier there used to be stone pelting here, now stone pelting is happening there. 2 crore 11 lakh tourists visited Kashmir and created a new record and the price of flour in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir has created a record. He said that Kashmir occupied by Pakistan belongs to India. These Mani Shankar Aiyars, Farooq Abdullah are scaring the country that Pakistan has a nuclear bomb. Shah said that Pakistan occupied Kashmir belongs to India and we will keep it.

Earlier, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh had also said that the way peace has returned in Kashmir and economic progress is taking place, the people of PoK themselves will demand merger with India. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also said that PoK was, is and will always be a part of India.

Attempt to sharpen nationalism

In the last Lok Sabha elections, the airstrike in Balakot and the safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan was a big issue and it was mentioned a lot in the election posters of BJP and in the speeches of the leaders. Nationalism did not become an issue in this election. Before voting in Tamil Nadu, the issue of Katchatheevu was raised but it did not become a topic of discussion among the people. Now the continuous protests in PoK are being mentioned a lot on social media. Every day such videos are coming from there in which protesters are carrying the tricolor. On the pretext of PoK, an attempt is being made once again to make the issue of nationalism a big issue in the elections. Four phases of elections have been held and three phases of elections are yet to be held. Voting is to be held on 164 seats in these three phases.

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