Headlines Today and Aaj Tak have sensationalized and quoted my response out of context to a question on my stand on Kashmir asked by them in an interview yesterday. In reply to a question about whether I favoured a referendum in Kashmir, I had clarified my stand which is as follows:
I said that there is considerable alienation among the people of Kashmir which is primarily because of the human rights excesses by the security forces in Kashmir and the impunity from prosecution given to them by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. I had said impunity of APSPA should be removed in order to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir. I further said that my personal view is that even the deployment of the Armed forces in huge numbers within Kashmir, not for external defence or to prevent infiltration but for the security of the people of Kashmir, should not be done without the consent of the people of Kashmir. Of course the union government is fully entitled to deploy the Army for external defence in Kashmir as well as for protecting the minorities there if there is a threat to minority rights. This, I said, is consistent with my view of participatory governance and Swaraj.
The Aam Aadmi party is of the view that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Needless to say that I share this view. Any reference to referendum shouldn't be misconstrued to mean plebiscite on Kashmir's relationship with India. It is the prerogative of the state to deploy Security Forces, including Armed Forces for any stretch to internal and external security. This prerogative must be exercised in the best interest of people, and as far as possible, with their consent.