Congress questions PM’s insaniyat, jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat remarks
As the Rajya Sabha took up a discussion on the prevailing situation in Kashmir, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad pitched for sending an all-party delegation to the valley besides an appeal by Parliament for end to violence which is being witnessed there for the last 33 days.
“We should appeal for peace and tranquility from here for better future of Kashmir. This kind of unison voice should go from Parliament. That apart, an all-party delegation should go there,” the Congress leader said, adding the announcement regarding it should be made immediately as the session is coming to an end in two days.
Initiating the discussion, Azad said criticised the Prime Minister for his “delayed” comments on the Kashmir situation and said even those were made at a rally in Madhya Pradesh rather than in Parliament. “We are discussing the Kashmir issue for the fourth time. The Prime Minister should come. The Prime Minister chose Madhya Pradesh to speak on Kashmir. He did not come to this House,” he said, adding “Since when has Madhya Pradesh become the capital of the country?”
Azad took a swipe on Modi regarding his statement on ‘Insaniyat (humanity), Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmriyat, saying such statements only suited former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Such words sound weird if it comes from someone who does not believe in them,” he said. The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said such words should come from the “heart” and not only from the lips.
Referring to the oft-repeated assertion that “Kashmir is integral part of India”, Azad said there should also be “integration of minds and hearts”. “...we are not feeling the love and affection, pain and agony, else the statement would not have come from Madhya Pradesh,” the Congress leader said in an apparent reference to Modi’s comments made at a rally yesterday.
“If it comes from the heart, it will reach Kashmir. It is mere lip-service and hence will not reach Kashmir,” he said.
Azad said while Modi keeps sitting in his room in Parliament since morning to evening, he did not make any statement on Kashmir during the past three discussions on the issue in the House. Azad said violence has increased in the valley ever since BJP has come to power in alliance with PDP, remarks which triggered a brief uproar as ruling party members reacted sharply.
He said successive governments have fought against militancy in the vallecy, but “perhaps you give statements for votes. You have only been indulging in fuelling the fire and not dousing it. Since the day you came to power, Kashmir is on fire...I don’t want to go into reasons”.
As members of the treasury benches objected to it leading to an uproar, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the situation in Kashmir is “sensitive” and “therefore it is imperative, as far as possible, we speak in one voice”.
He urged members from all sides not to touch historical issues where “we have difference of opinion.. This is not the occasion to discuss those issues.. Members should speak from the national point of view.
The Congress leader from the troubled state asserted that while there is an issue of separatism, “Kashmir is not communal, it is secular. There is a difference between seperatism and communalism.”
Higlighting that Kashmir is a “complex issue”, Azad said politics comes first, economic developement at second place followed by employment.
Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Azad said, “He tweets if something happens in Africa. Even if something happens in our enemy country, Pakistan, he issues condemnation. It is not wrong to show sympathy if humanity is hurt anywhere in the world. But in our own country, when the ‘Crown of India’ is burning, does the heat not reach...he should have spoken.”
Citing media reports, he said Modi spoke on Kashmir on insistance of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “Had the CM not spoken. Even today, PM would not have spoken,” he added. Referring to Modi’s comment that all Indians love Kashmir, the Congress leader said, “One should not love Kashmir for its beauty and nature alone. One should love people out there as well.”