Paying tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his first death anniversary on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, raked up the Kashmir issue, reminding people of his principles of “insaniyat (humanity), kashmiriyat (inclusive Kashmiri culture), jamhooriyat (democracy)”. Banerjee, who had served as the railway minister in the Vajpayee-led Cabinet, tweeted in Bengali, “Tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, former Prime Minister, on his first death anniversary. Let us recall his words: “The gun can solve no problems. Issues can be guided by the three principles of insaniyat, jamhooriyat and kashmiriyat.”
She also expressed concern over Kashmir and the way Article 370 was abrogated in her Independence Day speech on Thursday. At the Independence Day event, the chief minister said, “I love Kashmir. I don’t want to get into the merits of Article 370, but let me say this again that the method was wrong. The way it was implemented is undemocratic, by terrorising people at gunpoint. It is wrong.”
“We still don’t know the whereabouts of the former chief ministers there. Do we not have the right to seek answers? There was scope for peaceful negotiation, but they simply bulldozed it,” she added.
She stated that on Independence Day, the people of Kashmir should not feel depressed. “We don’t want Kashmiris to stay separated from us, we want them to live peacefully. On Independence Day, we pray that they don’t stay depressed,” said Banerjee.
On August 15, Banerjee had also called for preserving political and economic freedom, freedom of speech and expression and democratic rights. ”We must always strive for political freedom, economic freedom, freedom of expression and preserve the democratic rights. When these are not given, we should organise peaceful movements to preserve these rights.” she had said.
In another tweet, she had said democracy is India’s most priceless asset. “Let us take an oath today, not to divide India. We must unite India. Irrespective of caste or creed, we are all one India. Secularism is what identifies and unites us as a nation.”