The BJP on Sunday hit back at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of the government’s Kashmir policy, saying it does not need a certificate from a party which described Kashmir “as being occupied by India”.
Referring to the Congress releasing a booklet in Lucknow with an incorrect map of the country, labelling the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as “India occupied Kashmir”, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said people would never forgive the party for such a “mindset”. “Is it for this that hundreds of our brave soldiers have given up their lives over the years defending our sovereignty and territorial integrity?” he said in Hyderbad and asked if the final solution that the Congress had in mind was to give Kashmir to Pakistan.
Asserting that the government has a very strong Kashmir policy, party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said it is making a distiction and treating differently the common Kashmiris, terrorists and separatists and “this policy is bearing fruits”. The government and the security forces are on the same page and they are working to root out Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, he said in Delhi. The Congress, Hussain recalled, had even raised questions on the surgical strikes carried out by the Army across the line of control.
The BJP’s reaction came after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday blamed the Centre for mishandling the Kashmir issue. Dubbing the BJP-PDP “incompetent”, Rahul charged that the Centre was making empty reassurances about peace in the Valley.
In a major gaffe, the Congress on Saturday, released a booklet with an incorrect map of the country. Page 12 of the 16-page booklet titled ‘Rashtriya Suraksha par Aanch’, which was distributed by the Congress, showed the entire state labelled as “Indian Occupied Kashmir” in the context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The incident occurred during a conference of the opposition party in Lucknow to highlight the shortcomings of the Narendra Modi government during its three years of rule.
“While the people of the country were celebrating three years of a new India in the making, the Congress party came out with an official publication that described India as having occupied Kashmir and thereby conceding Kashmir to Pakistan,” Naidu told reporters.