The BJP on Thursday hit out at the Congress after Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn met “UK representatives” of the Congress and said that he “discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir with them”.
The BJP called it “appalling” and asked the Congress to explain what its leaders were telling foreign leaders about India. Stepping in to contain the damage, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said no chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress has the mandate or authorisation to speak on policies or India’s domestic issues.
Under attack, the Congress first said it was not a meeting between representatives of Indian Overseas Congress, UK, with Corbyn, and later, in an official reaction, distanced itself from the row.
Himanshu Vyas, AICC secretary in charge of Indian Overseas Congress department, said representatives of the UK unit were part of an Indian diaspora delegation which met the Labour Party leader.
“Corbyn had called a meeting of Indian diaspora. It was not just the Congress party. The Congress representatives asked him not to interfere in India’s internal matters and strongly told him that the resolution passed by Labour Party recently on Kashmir was wrong,” Vyas told The Indian Express.
However, a tweet put out by the Overseas Congress, UK, on its official handle minutes later stated, “Our meeting with Jeremy Corbyn was held to condemn the Kashmir resolution passed by his party and to reiterate that J&K is an internal matter & outside intervention will not be accepted. BJP’s malicious statements are another attempt to distract people from their failures.”
Sharma later said: “We are shocked by this misrepresentation and any unauthorised statement that has been made on behalf of the Congress. The delegation which met, or for that matter any committee or chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress, has neither the mandate nor any authorisation to speak on any matter which pertains to policies or India’s domestic issues…”
Sharma said the Congress’s position has been clear and consistent: that “any issue pertaining to the state of Jammu and Kashmir is purely India’s internal affairs…. What the party has to say is communicated officially here, and no other entity, individual or a body, has any authority to do so. We disown any such claim in its entirety. I am conveying this to the leader of the Labour Party…”
The BJP attack came after Corbyn tweeted that he had “a very productive meeting with UK representatives from Indian Congress Party where we discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir”.