Shah pulls up Congress for asking if Kashmir an internal issue

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) It was an embarrassing moment for the Congress when Home Minister Amit Shah pulled up its leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for questioning the government how Jammu and Kashmir issue can be an "internal issue" if it is under United Nations' monitoring since 1948.

This led Chowdhury to clarify his party's stand again in the Lok Sabha, saying "don't create an atmosphere that Congress is against the country's interest" and that it only wanted "to be enlightened by the government".

"You say that it is an internal matter, but it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN, is that an internal matter? We signed the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, was that an internal matter or bilateral?" Chowdhury asked after the Home Minister moved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 for bifurcation of the state in two UTs and a resolution revoking Article 370 from the state in the House.

"(External Affair Minister) S. Jaishankar told (US Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo a few days before that Kashmir is a bilateral matter, so don't interfere in it. Can Jammu and Kashmir still be an internal matter? We want to know. Entire Congress party wants to be enlightened by you," he added.

Shah quickly hit back at Chowdhury, asking that the Congress cleared its stand that the Kashmir issue is monitored by UN and that the party is suggesting that the global body should intervene in solving the issue.

"... what he (Chowdhury) asked me... I want his clarification on that. He said that J&K matter is pending in UN. So, how will we take this Bill without UN's permission? Please clarify what you want to say," he asked.

At this, Chowdhury said: "No! We just wanted clarification. I have doubts. You (government) says that J&K is internal matter. You want to bifurcate the state. But I want to clarify that if it is under UN monitoring since 1948, then how if can be an internal issue."

The United Nations in 1949 deputed a group of UN Military Observers to Kashmir for supervision of the ceasefire between the two countries that have gone to war several times since Independence. India has opposed UN's operations in Kashmir saying that the Kashmir issue is a matter that will be resolved between India and Pakistan.

The Rajya Sabha on Monday had approved the resolution abrogating Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir and the Bill, which strips Jammu and Kashmir's status of a state and converts it into a Union Territory with legislature and carving out Ladakh region as a UT without legislature.

--IANS

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