New Delhi/Bhopal: Defending senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's recent remarks on Jammu and Kashmir, party leader Tariq Anwar on Saturday stated that the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution gave Pakistan a chance to raise the Kashmir issue at international forums resulting in widespread global criticism.
Anwar further said that Singh's remarks were in line with the Congress' stand on the issue. Speaking to ANI, Anwar said, "In 2019 by abrogating Article 370 and making Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory, the BJP gave Pakistan a chance of raising the issue of Kashmir repeatedly at international forums.
The issue of Kashmir was not being raised at international forums for a long time, but because of the BJP-led central government, Pakistan got this opportunity due to which India is being criticised all over the world."
In August 2019, the Centre revoked Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
"Digvijay Singh has said the same thing the Congress Working Committee had been saying since 2019 when the government scrapped Article 370. When the Central government removed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress party had opposed the process of the removal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir both in and outside the Parliament. Even today the Congress stands by its decision," he added.
He further stressed that Singh has not talked about reinstating Article 370, but had spoken about reconsidering it. He stated that the Congress believes that if the Central government had taken this decision by taking the people and leaders of Jammu and Kashmir into confidence, then Pakistan would not have got this opportunity to raise the Kashmir issue at international forums.
Answering a question on whether Congress would reinstate Article 370 if it comes to power in 2024, Anwar said that there is no question of reinstatement but reconsideration.
He further said, "By removing article 370, Prime Minister Modi or Home Minister Amit Shah has not made Jammu and Kashmir a part of India. Jammu and Kashmir was already an integral part of India from 1947-48. This work was done during that time by the then Congress Prime Minister and Home Minister."
"As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, the Congress party believes that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the part of Kashmir occupied by China are also an integral part of India," he asserted.
Anwar's remarks came a day after ministers and BJP leaders criticised Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's remarks that his party would reconsider Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.
Singh had allegedly made these remarks while participating in a Clubhouse chat on the issue where he had responded to a question by a Pakistan journalist who asked what the Congress party would do on Article 370 if it happens to return to power at the Centre.
In the audio clip of the Clubhouse chat released by BJP's Amit Malviya, Digvijaya is heard saying: "Democracy was not there in Kashmir when they revoked Article 370. Then Insaniyat was not there because they had put everyone behind bars. Kashmiriyat is something that is basically the fundamentals of secularism. Because in a Muslim majority state, there was a Hindu Raja and both were together.
In fact, Kashmiri Pundits were given reservations in Kashmir in government services. So, therefore, the decision of revoking Article 370 and reducing the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir is an extremely sad decision. And the Congress Party would certainly have to have a relook into this issue."