Tuesday 25 October 2016

Cong Thrashes Govt Over 'Insensitve' Handling of Kashmir Issue

New Delhi

Slamming the government over its handling of Kashmir issue and the recent row over cancellation of Indo-Pak foreign secretaries meet, Congress today said the "very complex, historical problem" cannot be solved by giving "half-baked and shortsighted" statements.

"The kind of statements this government is making about Jammu and Kashmir are insensitive in the extreme. They seem to indicate that there is no problem in Jammu and Kashmir except a law and order problem."

"...But it is not true. There is a very complex, long drawn historical problem," party spokesperson and former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid told reporters at the AICC briefing.

Holding that the efforts of the previous governments have been to reach out to the soul of the people of Kashmir, Khurshid said that the "answer does not lie in half-baked, shortsighted statements given to a gathering of shouting and screaming BJP supporters".

Asked about demands of a Hindu Chief Minister for Jammu and Kashmir, Khurshid said, "Do we say that about any other state? Why only so and so. Let people of Jammu and Kashmir decide for themselves."

Attacking the Narendra Modi government over cancellation of Foreign Secretary level talks after the Pakistan envoy met separatist leaders from Kashmir despite the government's objections, Khurshid said that the NDA government was "completely unprepared". 

Khurshid also suggested that the government did not take inputs from the External Affairs Ministry headed by Sushma Swaraj before planning the talks.

"This is just a case of bad preparation and also a case of inadequate inputs taken from the foreign office. These are the jobs that the Indian Foreign Service can do and not the Indian Police Service," Khurshid said.

He claimed that calling off the talks happened due to "extreme panic" caused by "extreme shortsightedness". By not realising the harsh reality of Indo-Pak relations, the government created an expectation of glory, which was unfounded, he added.

Angered by Pakistan's consultations with Kashmiri separatists, India had on Monday called off next week's talks between Foreign Secretaries, telling it bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.

Soon after Modi government came to power, Minister of State in PMO Jitender Singh had remarked that Government was open to debating Article 370, evoking sharp reactions.

A media report said a few days back that BJP has started a debate at various levels to to find out if Article 370 was meant to be permanent or temporary, what did it cost the country and to what effect.

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