Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah said Sunday that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for the creation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as he had agreed to an “untimely” ceasefire in 1949 between Indian and Pakistani forces in Kashmir.
Shah also said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would have had “homes with gold roofs” had state governments spent the funds given to it by the Centre for its development. He alleged the funds had been “looted”.
Shah was addressing a public rally in Goregaon on the Centre’s decision to abate Article 370 in J&K a day polls in Maharashtra were announced, and signalled that it would form a major part of the BJP campaign.
Asking the BJP cadre to start a massive campaign to take the government’s decision to every household, Shah said the Congress-NCP, which opposed the decision in Parliament, should be shown their “rightful place” in the state elections.
“The decision to scrap Article 370 is for the welfare of the nation. It is for the welfare of Kashmir which is an integral part of India. The decision is in national interest. Now, its time to decide whether people want a party which is rashtrabhakt (nationalist) or those who promote parivarvad (dynasty)… When (Rahul) Gandhi (of the Congress) and (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar will be here for the campaign, you should ask them whether they support or oppose the removal of Article 370,” he said.
Blaming Nehru, Shah said had Sardar Patel handled the accession of Kashmir, as he had done all other princely states, there would have been a different result.
Nehru had taken Pakistan’s invasion to the United Nations under Article 35 of the UN Charter in 1948.
“Had he gone through UN charter’s Article 51, still PoK would have been with India,” Shah said. Article 51 says a member of the UN has the “inherent right” to self-defence against an armed attack until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
“PoK wouldn’t have come into existence had Nehru not declared the untimely ceasefire with Pakistan, a mistake of Nehru…Sardar Patel should have handled Kashmir, instead of Nehru handling it”.
The United Nations-brokered ceasefire formally brought to an end the first Kashmir war that broke out in October 1947 when tribesmen from the newly created Pakistan invaded the then princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, and were followed by the Pakistani army. The ceasefire left the Pakistan Army in control of those areas of J&K that its army occupied at the time.
“After Sardar Patel’s death in 1950, the Indian government signed the Delhi agreement with Sheikh Abdullah which became the foundation of Article 370,” he said. Referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the Centre’s decision, Shah said that for the BJP, the removal of special status to J&K “was a promise of re-integration. You (Congress) see politics in it, but we see it as patriotism”.
“Rahul has come into politics now, but three generations of the Jan Sangh and BJP have sacrificed their lives for Kashmir. They fought for the abrogation of Article 370. Our objective is to keep Bharat Ma akhand (Mother India united).”
Citing an example of the special status that had been given to Kashmir, Shah said, “Those who came from Pakistan to India, two of them — Manmohan Singh and I K Gujral — (later) became prime ministers, while L K Advani became deputy prime minister. But those who went to J&K never had voting rights…” he said.
“The Indian government has spent Rs 2.27 lakh crore so far on Jammu and Kashmir since its formation. Had it gone to people, their houses would have had roofs made of gold,” Shah said.
“Article 370 was not for protecting the culture of J&K. It was for the protection of their (political leaders) corruption,” he said.