Hours after senior Congress leader P Chidambaram claimed that the BJP would not have abrogated the special status to Jammu and Kashmir had the state been a Hindu-dominated state, the party hit back and called his statement “very irresponsible and provocative”. “Today, Jammu and Kashmir has been turned into a municipality. There are special provisions for other states under Article 371, why only J and K. This is because of religious fanaticism,” the former Union minister had said.
“If J&K was a Hindu-dominated state, BJP would not have done this. They did it only because the region is dominated by Muslims,” he added.
While Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that Chidambaram’s comments were “very irresponsible and provocative”, BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Congress was giving the issue a communal angle. Union Minister Naqvi also added that the government has rectified a very big mistake made decades ago by the Congress, news agency PTI reported.
“What he has said is an attempt to give communal colour to the issue even though the decision is in the national interest,” Naqvi added.
Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the decision taken by the government is in the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their development, and asked if it was not true that over 42,000 people, mostly Muslims, had died during decades of violence in the Valley.
The Congress leader was speaking at a public meeting in Chennai on Sunday when he made the remark.
Alleging that the saffron party revoked the special status to the state with its “muscle power,” Chidambaram said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was unstable and that international media were covering the unrest, unlike Indian news agencies.
“…They (BJP) claim Kashmir is stable. Is it? Does it mean stable if Indian media houses don’t cover the unrest in J&K?” he said.
“BJP is bragging of integrating Kashmir with muscle power,” he added.
The former Union minister also alleged that police resorted to firing to disperse around 10,000 people in Soura area of Srinagar.
Chidambaram also targetted regional parties for not protesting against the BJP’s decision in the Rajya Sabha out of “fear”.
“I know we do not have a majority in Lok Sabha, but had the seven parties (AIADMK, YSRCP, TRS, BJD, AAP, TMC, JDU) cooperated, the opposition would have been in majority in RS. This is something disappointing,” he said.
TMC did a walkout, but what’s the difference, he asked.
Emphasising that there was never a conflict between former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Chidambaram said, “Patel was never an RSS functionary. They (BJP) don’t have any leader, they are stealing our leader. No matter who steals, history doesn’t forget to whom the product belongs.”