Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s approach to the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan was wrong, PTI reported. Prasad told reporters in Ahmedabad that Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed immense courage to correct Nehru’s “historic blunder” and revoke Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
“I want to say that in Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar [Vallabhbhai] Patel was right and Jawaharlal Nehru was wrong,” the minister said at a press conference, where the government’s achievements in the last 100 days were showcased. “It [Article 370] was a historical blunder committed [that time] and [by scrapping the special status] Narendra Modi as our PM, showing immense courage, corrected that historical wrong.”
The law minister claimed “not a single bullet has been fired” in the state since August 5, when the Centre announced its decision. “The decision to abrogate Article 370 is historic, courageous, far-reaching and it is also in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir and also for India,” Prasad added. “I also congratulate Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his strategic planning and execution [of the decision].”
The minister claimed curfew had been lifted from all areas except those under the jurisdiction of 14 police stations. On Tuesday, curfew-like restrictions were reimposed in several parts of Kashmir Valley to prevent people from holding marches on the occasion of Ashura, the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said landline phone connections had been restored in the state while mobile postpaid connections were functioning in Kupwara district. The government claimed schools, banks and health institutions were functioning normally.
The minister claimed the interntional community, including powerful countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and France, appreciated India’s move to remove Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
Even China, one of Pakistan’s major allies, did not openly raise objections to India’s move, Prasad added. However, Beijing has repeatedly expressed concerns about New Delhi’s moves in the region, and reiterated that the Kashmir dispute needed to be resolved through dialogue.
The law minister criticised the Congress, and said he could not understand the Opposition party’s stand on the Kashmir matter. Last month, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had lashed out at former Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s “irresponsible utterances” on the situation in Kashmir. The saffron party alleged that Gandhi’s comments criticising the Kashmir lockdown had been used by Pakistan in its application to the United Nations.
Asked about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement that he would address a large gathering in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Prasad said Khan should first talk about the democratic rights of people living there.
“What is the situation of people living in PoK?” the law minister asked. “Were they given their democratic rights? Do they have employment opportunities? Instead of talking about Kashmir, both Imran Khan and Pakistan need to first talk about the violation of democratic rights of the people of PoK.”
Prasad added: “Talk about what is happening with people living in Balochistan and Gilgit.”
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