Former interlocutor MM Ansari backed Congress leader, P Chidambaram’s comment on Jammu and Kashmir by saying that there is no harm in extending the demands of autonomy in the state.
The former interlocutor said, “The Kashmiri people are simply asking for autonomy which was agreed upon way back in 1952 that needs to be restored. I think there is no harm in extending to the demands of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir as per the agreement made in 1952.”
“So what Mr Chidambaram has said I think is based on the regular demands of the Kashmiris”, Ansari added.
“As back as 1952 maximum autonomy as per Article 370 of the Constitution was granted to J&K. In due course of time, the autonomy was eroded. Some of the laws that were not to be extended to Jammu and Kashmir have been extended. So, in our interlocutor report we suggested that extension of all the laws need to be rebooted by the constitutional committee,” he further said.
Earlier, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister, P Chidamabaram said that when people of Jammu and Kashmir ask for ‘azadi‘ they seek greater autonomy. He also said the Centre should find out the areas in Jammu and Kashmir where autonomy can be given.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Subramanian Swamy slammed Chidambaram by calling him a ‘traitor’ for his comment on Jammu and Kashmir.
He said, “Since he is about to land in jail soon, he is talking like a traitor.”
“He is talking like this so that some people from Kashmir cry for him when he is sent to jail”, he added.
Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani also hit out at Chidambaram for his J-K remark, saying the Congress was willing to sacrifice nationhood for political gain.
The Union Minister termed the former Finance Minister’s remark as “shocking and disgusting” and said that it reflects the mentality of the Congress Party.
“Quite shocking and disgusting that Chidambaram speaks about breaking the unity of India into pieces and supports those people who have actually murdered our security forces just so that they can play havoc in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Irani said.
“I am not surprised because Mr Chidambaram’s remark reflects the Congress party’s mentality,” she added.
She even launched a salvo at Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, saying that the latter supported those who raised ‘bharat tere tukde honge‘ slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“For them, to talk about ‘azaadi‘ when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gave his entire life and all his efforts so that India stood united under one constitution. What message is the Congress Party giving? At the doorstep of political gain, they are willing to sacrifice nationhood,” she said.
Irani said the Congress party is making such remark so that they can politically benefit from it in the poll-bound state of Gujarat.
“Given the upcoming elections, (it) is a sorry state of affairs displayed in the disposition of Congress leaders today,” Irani said.
Other BJP leaders also hit out at Chidambaram for his Jammu and Kashmir comment. Sambit Patra said that the Congress is responsible for what Kashmir is being discussed today.
“From Nehru to Chidambaram, we have seen the confused hypocrisy of the Congress party as far as Kashmir is concerned. They are the one who have plunged Kashmir into the kind of situation that we are discussing today,” he said.
“Today P Chidambaram lending his voice to the ‘azadi‘ brigade is something, which the Congress party has to come out and explain,” said Patra.
Asserting a similar viewpoint, BJP leader, Shahnawaz Hussain said, “The statement is unfortunate. Many people from Kashmir raise this issue on Pakistan’s provocation, but former Union Minister, P Chidambaram talking about it is utterly unfortunate. He should know that ‘azadi‘ does not mean autonomy.”
Apart from Patra, Hussain and Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley had also slammed the Congress leader for his J&K remark.