BJP, Congress spar after Pak cites Rahul in letter on J&K
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) The ruling BJP and the Congress were on Wednesday engaged in war of words after Pakistan by quoting former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in a petition on the issue of Kashmir moved at the United Nations.
Upping the ante against Gandhi, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar demanded an apology from him, as well as the party for "insulting the country".
Describing Gandhi's comment criticising the revocation of Article 370 as "shameful", he said: "He is now being forced to retract and change his statement. This is being done after the nation erupted in fury."
Javadekar said the shift in the Congress' position is not because of its change of mindset but due to political compulsions.
He also called the opposition delegation to Kashmir led by Gandhi as "irresponsible".
Javadekar's attack came while Pakistan, in its latest bid to raise the issue of India's abrogation of the Constitution's Article 370 at the UN, quoted Gandhi's comments to justify its stand.
Pakistan's plea to the UN said: "These, and other, acts of violence have even been acknowledged by mainstream politicians such as the Leader of the Congress Party, Mr Rahul Gandhi who has noted 'people dying' in Jammu & Kashmir, in light of events going very wrong there."
Earlier, Union Minister Smriti Irani also criticised the senior Congress leader for putting India in an "awkward" position internationally
Responding to the BJP's charge, the Congress hit back saying that the "misinformation minister" (Javadekar) has "lost his political balance".
Speaking to reporters here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "It is tragic that Javadekar is twisting a statement made by Rahul Gandhi which reflected that Congress and all other parties are united."
He said we are in "unison" to take on the "fake and false propaganda" of Pakistan vis-a-vis the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Rahul Gandhi categorically said that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and shall always remain an integral part of Indian Union. No one on the planet, including Pakistan, has a right to question that," he said.
Defending the former party chief, Surjewala said: "Rahul Gandhi also said that the violence in Kashmir is instigated and supported by terror groups in Pakistan that thrive under the political and military patronage of the Pakistani government and Pakistan should be stand warned for desisting from supporting terror activities on Indian soil.
"Does Javdekar has any objection to that? Is it not a statement that shows a consolidated, united face of India? In fact the Congress followed up Rahul Gandhi's statement and we categorically said that Pakistan should answer to the world about unpardonable and inhuman violations of human rights in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in Gilgit, in Hunza and in Baltistan."
"Not only this, human rights violations in Balochistan including mass grave disclosed by various agencies in the world have gone unanswered by Pakistan," he said.
"On behalf of Congress, we want to remind the entire world community that every terrorist organization worth its name, whether it is Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e- Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen or Taliban - all of them have base and off-shoots in Pakistan and they are supported by the Pakistan military and their ruling establishment."
Hitting out at the BJP leader, he said: "The tragic part is the BJP and its Misinformation Minister is trying to politicize a stand unitedly taken for Indian by Indian and in favour of the entire country in front of the world community."