Furor over Congress leader’s statement on Article 370
RAHUL Gandhi’s top aide and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s comment on BJP government’s repeal of Article 370 has irked the ruling junta in India.
The debate has erupted over the Article 370 statement of Digvijay Singh, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reacted strongly to the Congress leader’s statement.
A part of Digvijay Singh’s conversation with a Pakistani journalist during a session at the Audio Chat Room Club House was circulating on social media in which the Congress leader said that if the Congress came to power, it would consider the review of Article 370.
Readers may recall that on 5 August 2019, the BJP rescinded Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution which were pertinent to the decades-long semi-autonomous status of India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was declared a Federally Administered Territory.
Article 370 provided autonomy and a special status to Jammu and Kashmir while Article 35A forbade the acquisition of property by non-Kashmiris in the disputed region while outsiders were not permitted to settle down in Kashmir.
Following the abrogation of the said articles, BJP had imposed total lockdown in India-occupied Kashmir and even blocked telephone, cell phone and internet facilities in the disputed region.
Curfew was imposed to prohibit Kashmiris coming out in the streets to protest the illegal action. Those that ventured to defy the curfew were brutally slaughtered.
Kashmiris and Pakistanis all over the world protested the atrocities but Narendra Modi and his goons remained unmoved because the actions were taken according to a heinous plot.
Modi’s agenda was to resettle non-Kashmiris in the Valley so that the demography of India-occupied Kashmir was changed to turn the Muslim majority into minority.
This odious machination was to ensure that whenever a plebiscite was held in Kashmir, the resettled Hindus in Kashmir will vote enmasse to accede to India rather than Pakistan.
The world has not forgotten BJP’s atrocity but Digvijay’s statement has rekindled the venom and animosity.
Several leaders and Union Ministers of India’s ruling BJP have been critical of the Congress leader’s statement.
During the discussion, Digvijay Singh further said that when Article 370 was repealed, “there was neither democracy nor humanity in Kashmir” while the decision was taken by arresting several Kashmiri leaders.
Reacting to the Congress leader’s statement, ruling party BJP spokesperson Sambat Patra alleged that the Congress leader was the stage manager of the clubhouse debate and prompted a Pakistani journalist to ask him a question about Article 370. He said that the talk in the club house was part of the false propaganda of the Congress.
According to the Times of India, the BJP spokesperson said in a statement that “the Congress should rename the clubhouse as Anti-National Club House.
Because of the hatred of Modi ji, now these people have also come down to the hatred of India. ” Patra claimed that the recent remark by Singh was a part of the ‘toolkit’.
Last month, Patra had shared a host of documents or ‘toolkit’ allegedly created by Congress in order to “malign” PM Modi’s image over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Reacting to the BJP’s criticism, Digvijay Singh said that critics of his statement were less knowledgeable.
He said in the Club House debate that he had said that if the Congress came back to power, it would reconsider Article 370.
“Maybe a few leaders do not understand the difference between ‘shall’ and ‘consider’. So there is a clear difference between intending to do something and considering it.
Digvijay Singh said that repealing Article 370 and revoking the status of Kashmir was a regrettable decision.
Reacting to the Congress leader’s statement, former Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said that he was grateful to Digvijay Singh for realizing the sentiments of the Kashmiri people. He said he hoped the Indian government would reconsider the matter.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said in a statement that the official position of the Congress on Article 370 is the same as it had given on August 6, 2019.
On August 6, 2019, the Congress Central Working Committee passed a resolution rejecting the government’s decision to repeal Article 370 without taking other political parties and Kashmiri leaders into confidence.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan has accused the Congress of speaking the language of Pakistan. He said that Sonia Gandhi should clarify her position in this matter.
Former J&K Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta called Singh’s remark “shameful”. Congress leaders speak Pakistan’s language. Pakistan wants reinstatement of Article 370 and Digvijaya Singh is speaking their language
Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said instead of playing to the gallery across the border, the Congress must come to terms with the abrogation of Article 370.
It may be recalled that after the repeal of Article 370, India’s relations with Pakistan had further deteriorated. Pakistan has restricted diplomatic and trade relations with India, saying there would be no talks until India reinstated Article 370.
Narendra Modi is already reeling under the impact of his government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented loss of Indian lives. Indian economy is in a shambles and country is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Under these bleak circumstances, the Congress leader’s frank comment has created a furor, which will not die down until India takes back its heinous deed of 05 August 2019.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.