Under attack over his controversial statement, senior ruling National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal today claimed his remarks have been taken out of context and misconstrued and regretted he was being called "anti-Indian".
"The impression given by media of me (of being anti- national) is totally wrong...My statement to public has been misconstrued...It has been torn out of context," he told reporters here today.
Accusing India of having rejected a no-war pact with Pakistan and the army of being hurdle in the return of peace in Jammu and Kashmir, the Additional General Secretary of ruling National Conference had said on Sunday that if India continued its stubborn attitude, "it will be our biggest enemy."
Kamal, who is the brother of Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and uncle of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, had said, "If India will remain stubborn on the issue, it is not difficult to say that India is our enemy and Pakistan is not our enemy".
His press conference came close on the heels of a statement by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi
Azad, who has asked the National Conference to clear its stand on the statement of
The minister criticised Kamal's "anti-Indian remarks", saying this is a serious issue. "This is not the first time that this gentleman
(Kamal) has been giving statements like this," Azad said last night.
"He has crossed all the limits...Which is not acceptable and more so I was surprised NC gave no reply on this...It shows that there is total silence on the part of NC leadership, they are in agreement with it," he said.
Azad said it is high time that NC cleared its stand on the issue.
Kamal responded, saying, "I am pained and hurt that the media has projected me as an anti-national and accused me of sedition. It hurts me, it saddens me," he said.
"No one is a better Indian than us (Sheikh family)... Please do not project me in bad light," he said.
"I am part of the Sheikh (Sheikh Mohmmad Abdullah) family, which played an important role in bringing democracy in J&K and facilitated joining of J&K with Indian union," he said, adding that this organisation
(NC) did ground work for it and laid foundation, and today it is under attack.
"I have been elected to State Assembly four times...And today I am also in Assembly...Thanks to courtesy of media, I am today being call anti-Indian. I am really hurt and sad".
"If we are against India, why should we have joined hands with the Indian union...We would have also revolted like others (separatists) and talked like them," Kamal said.
My history is known to everyone, my family's legacy and my political career of several decades is testimony of my credentials and today you call Mustafa Kamal an anti-national. It deeply hurts me what I said has been blown out of context", he said.
Clarifying his statement over the Indo-Pak issue, he said, "I had suggested that India and Pakistan must sit together and settle the issue amicably because it affects the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
"I have great regard for my country India and the Indian National Congress and shall never ever work against the two. It is beyond my comprehension to do so", Kamal said.
"We have had four wars and the fifth one was Kargil...We have seen untold sufferings...Till you do not address the root cause...The main symptom of which is militancy".
"The root cause is Pakistan and Indian animosity over Jammu and Kashmir and J&K is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan and will always be a headache for the country and drain on the country's resources", he said.
"Militancy was instigated by our neighbour (Pakistan) to keep New Delhi involved in J&K...Keep its forces involved in J&K...Drain its exchequer...No Indian will expect peace to return in J&K", he said, adding, "We have peace in J&K for past 2 years...You never know who will disturb it".
"The two countries should have sustained dialogue process ...Not to keep postponing it several times...Not to keep it in sessions", he said, adding that time has come to have a sustained dialogue.
About the relations with Congress and its leadership, he said, Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah have ushered in a new chapter in the National Conference and Congress relationship which dates back to
Sher-e-Kashmir and Jawaharlal Nehru and carried forward by Indira Gandhi and Dr Farooq Abdullah.
"We all in the family are committed to carrying forward this relationship and strengthen the hands of Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah for the betterment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and in the interest of the nation," he said.