AAP split over Kashmir, Jaitley tweets critique

In a bid to deescalate the controversy that erupted after senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan’s comment over Kashmir referendum, the party on Monday made it clear there was ‘no question’ of having a referendum on keeping the contentious AFSPA ruling in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal maintained distance from Bhushan’s view and said on Monday that deployment of army in Kashmir is a matter of internal security. ‘There is no question of having a referendum on it,’ he said, adding that Bhushan’s opinion was his personal view. Earlier on Sunday, Bhushan’s comments ignited a controversy when he, in an interview with a TV channel, talked about army deployment in Kashmir and called for a referendum to decide whether or not AFSPA should be deployed there.

Later in the day, Bhushan tried dousing the fire by clarifying that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and there was no question of challenging its accession to the country. ‘I had said that impunity of AFSPA should be removed in order to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir,’ the leader said in his attempt to defuse the hullabaloo.

‘Of course the union government is fully entitled to deploy the army for external defence in Kashmir as well as protecting the minorities there if there is a threat to minority rights. It is the prerogative of the state to deploy security forces including armed forces for any stretch of time to internal and external security. ‘This prerogative must be exercised in the best interests of people and as far as possible with their consent.’

Meanwhile, BJP’s Arun Jaitely criticised Bhushan’s comment, saying, ‘It is regrettable that a party like AAP which nourishes national ambitions, should adopt a position hostile to India’s interests.’ Jaitley further tweeted: ‘Ideology of AAP as revealed post-elections - it stands for nationalization, weak national security and high subsidies and higher taxation.
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