NEW DELHI: A Congress leader scored a self goal during the debate on the government’s big Jammu and Kashmir move in the Lok Sabha, in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who fronted the Congress charge against Home Minister Amit Shah, deeply embarrassed his party by appearing to suggest that decisions taken by the government on Jammu and Kashmir were not an internal matter.
Amit Shah today made a statement in the Lok Sabha on the decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and to bifurcate the state into two union territories. The move was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, demanded to know the government’s position on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) while referring to a 1994 resolution by the House stating that the entire Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India.
He said the government had thrown rules and regulations out of the window by proposing to create two union territories out of Jammu and Kashmir.
A furious Home Minister told Mr Chowdhury not to make a “general statement”. “General statements should not be made. This is the biggest panchayat of the country. Please tell us which rules have been violated. I will respond to them,” he said.
The Congress leader then sought clarification on how the United Nations was monitoring Kashmir if the region was an internal issue. “I don’t think you are thinking about PoK, you violated all rules and converted a state into a union territory overnight,” Mr Chowdhury said.
“You say that it is an internal matter. But it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN, is that an internal matter? 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,” the Congress leader said.
“You don’t consider Jammu and Kashmir an integral part India? What are you saying? Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Whenever I say Jammu and Kashmir, PoK comes under it. I am being aggressive because you didn’t think that PoK comes under Jammu and Kashmir. We can die for it,” Amit Shah shouted back.
“I want to make it very clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part of India. There is absolutely no doubt over it, and there is no legal dispute on this.”
Chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” erupted from the government benches at that statement.