Rahul slams Pak, says Kashmir India's internal issue (Lead)
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Days after a delegation of Opposition leaders was not allowed to enter Srinagar and sent back to Delhi, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday supported the government's stand that Kashmir was India's internal issue and said there was no room for Pakistan to interfere in it.
The Congress MP, who is currently in his parliamentary constituency of Wayanad in Kerala, in a series of tweets, said: "I disagree with this government on many issues. But, let me make this absolutely clear: Kashmir is India's internal issue and there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it."
"There is violence in Jammu and Kashmir. There is violence because it is instigated and supported by Pakistan, which is known to be the prime supporter of terrorism across the world," he added.
His remarks came as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his several ministers have been raking up the issue of the Indian government's abrogation of Article 370 related to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.
The Pakistan government and many of its ministers have also used media bytes and tweets of Congress leaders to internationalise the issue of Kashmir.
Soon after Rahul Gandhi, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who has backed several party leaders' stand of not demonising Prime Minister Narendra Modi on every issue, said that the Congress has insisted all along that Kashmir is an integral part of India and the party is only opposed to the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated.
He also asked Pakistan not to draw any comfort from the Congress' stand.
"Spot on, Chief! This is what Congress has insisted all along: J&K is an integral part of India; we opposed the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated because the way it was done assaulted our Constitution and democratic values. No reason for Pakistan to draw any comfort from our stand," Tharoor tweeted.
Before Rahul Gandhi, several senior party leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Janaradan Dwivedi, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son Deepender Hooda, UP MLA Aditi Singh, Milind Deora, Anil Shastri and others have spoken in favour of the government's decision to revoke Article 370.
The Congress also on Wednesday slammed Pakistan for its "diabolical deception" over Kashmir saying Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and will remain an integral part of India.
In a statement, party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Congress had noticed reports about the Pakistani government having allegedly moved a petition on Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations that includes the name of former party president Rahul Gandhi.
"Rahul Gandhi has been dragged to justify the pack of lies and deliberate misinformation being spread by Pakistan. Let no one in the world be in doubt that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and shall always remain an integral part of India. No amount of diabolical deception by Pakistan shall change this irrevocable truth," Surjewala said.
Instead, he added, Pakistan should answer to the world about unpardonable and inhumane violations of human rights in POK-Gilgit-Hunza-Baltistan.
"Pakistan also owes an explanation for designed persecution of over 70 million Mohajirs and killing of over 25,000 by Pakistani forces," he said.
The Congress leader said human rights violations in Balochistan have never been answered. "The entire world witnessed the horrific murder of 128 innocents on July 13, 2018 during an election rally by Balochistan Awami Movement. The gross abuse of human rights of Pashtun people in the tribal regions by the Pakistan Army as also the systematic persecution and prosecution of Ahmadiyya religious community is yet to be answered by Pakistan."
He urged Pakistan to answer these issues, both internally to its people as also to the international community, "instead of raising the fake Kashmir bogey".
"Let the world be reminded again that almost every terrorist organisation thrives in Pakistan under political and military patronage - be it Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Hizbul Mujahedeen, Al-Qaeda or Taliban and its multiple offshoots."
On Monday, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi met the President of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Maria Fernanda Espinosa in New York and briefed her on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the meeting, Lodhi had said she briefed Espinosa about "the grave situation in Kashmir where the continuing curfew and lockdown is exacerbating the suffering of the people. UN should live up to its obligations on Kashmir."