The party which routed the ruling Congress in India’s capital New Delhi and now enjoys its support said the referendum should be held to see whether people support Army deployment in towns and villages in the state.
“Army should be withdrawn if Kashmiris vote against Army deployment,” Bhushan told a Delhi based channel in an interview.
Bhushan has earlier asked for a plebiscite in Kashmir and advocated separation of of the disputed state from India if people wanted so, a remark which earned him the wrath of right-wing Hindu nationalists who broke into his office and assaulted him.
“Any decision which does not have the backing of the people is undemocratic. If people feel that the Army is violating human rights and they say they don’t want the Army to be deployed there then the Army should be withdrawn from there,” he said in an interview with a television channel.
Bhushan had in September, 2011 called for a plebiscite in Kashmir at a press conference in Varanasi and had said that Kashmir should be allowed to “break away from India if Kashmiris did not want to stay as part of India.”
Bhushan still backs the idea of a referendum on deploying the Army. His comments come on a day the Aam Aadmi Party announced ambitious plans to contest the general elections of 2014.
Opponents of the Aam Aadmi Party pounced on Bhushan’s views on Kashmir. BJP spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said, “Prashant Bhushan should remember he no longer runs an NGO. Demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir is a language that is being spoken by separatists in Pakistan and Bhushan as a senior AAP leader is playing into the hands of the separatists.