Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday was criticised by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party after he seemingly suggested that decisions taken on Jammu and Kashmir was not an internal matter. Chowdhury demanded to know the Centre’s stand on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, pointing to a 1994 resolution by the House, and said that the entire state was an important part of India, NDTV reported.
“You say that it is an internal matter. But it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN, is that an internal matter?” Chowdhury said in the Lower House. “We signed Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, was that an internal matter or bilateral? Can Jammu and Kashmir still be an internal matter? We want to know. The entire Congress party wants to be enlightened by you.”
Chowdhury also said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his United States counterpart Mike Pompeo a few days ago that Kashmir was a bilateral matter and that America must not interfere. After an uproar, mostly from members of the ruling party, Home Minister Amit Shah asked the Congress leader if he did not consider Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir a part of India.
“We will give our lives for this region,” ANI quoted Shah as saying. “The Jammu and Kashmir we talk about includes both Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin.” Shah further said that the state was an essential part of the country and that “no one can stop us from adopting this move.”
Following the home minister’s response, chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” began from a few of the members. The Congress leader later explained that he had been misunderstood.
Chowdhury had also alleged that the government had not abided by rules on the decision to bifurcate the state. Shah responded by saying that “general statements” should not be made. “This is the biggest panchayat of the country,” NDTV quoted him as saying. “Please tell us which rules have been violated. I will respond to them.”
Shah on Tuesday addressed the Lok Sabha on the Centre’s resolution to recommend to the President that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution be revoked. The House will also discuss a bill, proposing to split the state into two Union territories – one, Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and the other, Ladakh, without one.
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