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Lok Sabha: Adhir Chowdhury asks whether J&K is internal matter, leaves Congress red faced

Speaking in Parliament on the government's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by modifying Article 370, Chowdhary asked Home Minister Amit Shah if the Kashmir issue is a "bilateral or internal matter."

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2019 4:24:11 pm
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaks in the Lok Sabha. (PTI)

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday received flak from treasury benches for seeking to know whether Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter or a bilateral issue since the United Nations had been monitoring the situation there since 1948.

Speaking in Parliament on the government’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by modifying Article 370, Chowdhary asked Home Minister Amit Shah if the Kashmir issue was a “bilateral or internal matter.”

“You say it is an internal matter. The UN has been monitoring the situation since 1948. Then there is the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. Whether this is a bilateral matter or an internal matter. (Foreign Minister) S Jaishankar told his US counterpart Mike Pompeo about Kashmir. Can it still be an internal matter after that?” he said.

Chowdhury’s remarks triggered protests from the treasury benches, with Shah telling the Bengal MP not to make a “general statement”.  Jammu and Kashmir LIVE updates

India has consistently and emphatically underlined that Jammu and Kashmir is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India.”

Replying to the Congress leader, Shah said, “I want to make it very clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part of India. There is absolutely no doubt over it, and there is no legal dispute on this.”

Speaking to ANI later, Chowdhary attempted damage control by saying that he only sought a clarification from the Home Minister on the stand of the government following the bifurcation of J&K.

“Since 1948, Kashmir has been under the monitoring mechanism of the United Nations. So, in the wake of bifurcation of J&K state, what should be the stand & status of our country?” the Congress leader told ANI.

“In this Parliament in 1994, we adopted a resolution that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has to be restored. It has to be brought into the ambit of our country. Now once J&K has been bifurcated, what shall be the status of PoK?” Chowdhury asked.

“Kashmir has always been under the attention of the international forum. If Kashmir issue is so easy, why did this government yesterday address the embassy people of various countries? I simply sought clarification,” he said.

Hours after the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha Monday, New Delhi moved quickly to brief foreign envoys, especially the members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

At the beginning of the proceedings in the Lok Sabha today, Shah had said, “When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it.” Parliament LIVE updates

The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature similar to Delhi or Puducherry, and Ladakh without one like Chandigarh, was passed with a two-thirds majority in Rajya Sabha.

The Congress has opposed the bill, with Rahul Gandhi warning of “grave implications for our national security.” However, some party leaders including Congress Mumbai chief Milind Deora have supported the bill.

Replying to Shah’s quip on the split in the party over the bill, Congress leader Manish Tewari said it is not a “black and white matter”. “Everything cannot be black and white. There are 50 shades of grey in between,” he said after calling the bill a “travesty of the Constitution.”

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