New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that the outcome of the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special powers to Jammu Kashmir, was not to the liking of many people in the country and emphasised that the idea of India should prevail.
Singh made these remarks on the sidelines of an event organised here to pay tributes to Congress leader S Jaipal Reddy, who passed away last month. Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also separately reacted to the Centre's decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and abrogate Article 370.
Tharoor said that he was surprised to see the leader of the UK Labour Party echoing the statement of some Pakistanis that UN resolutions must be implemented and said there have been very serious changes in the demography and cartography of undivided Kashmir Manmohan Singh said voices of those people who have not liked the government's decisions should be heard. "The outcome of this is not to the liking of many people in our country. It is important that the voice of all these people must be heard. It is only by raising our voice that we can ensure that in the long run, the idea of India is something which is very sacred to us...prevails," he said.
He was asked about the outcome of the Central government's decisions that included the abrogation of Article 370. Parliament has revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enacted the law that bifurcates the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with Assembly and Ladakh without it. Tharoor told ANI at Thiruvananthapuram that he was surprised to see the leader of the UK Labour Party echoing the statement of some Pakistanis that UN resolutions must be implemented.
"I am a bit surprised to see the leader of the UK Labour Party echoing the statement of some Pakistanis that UN resolutions must be implemented. Don't forget the UN resolutions...the first resolution of Kashmir, the Resolution No. 48, the main resolution of the UNSC was adopted at our insistence." Answering a query on China, he said it has been complicit in redrawing boundaries in Kashmir by "taking territories from Pakistan and by taking territories from us in 1962 war".
On reports of Eid prayers passing peacefully in the Valley, he said, "I have only been seeing media reports. I don't have any first-hand report. I am relieved that Eid prayers seem to have gone well." "This final test will be when everybody including the political leaders is released from detention - when the internet is restored, the curfew is lifted, people are able to move completely freely. And then we will be able to see what kind of normalcy can be restored in Kashmir? This is an artificial peace," he said.
Tharoor, formerly associated with United Nations, said that the resolutions adopted at the UN were to be implemented sequentially and the first requirement was that Pakistan would withdraw all its militias, irregulars from the parts of Kashmir they have occupied. He said that the UN resolution was adopted paragraph by paragraph and was meant to be implemented sequentially.
"The first requirement was that Pakistan should withdraw all its militias, irregulars from the parts of Kashmir they have occupied. The simple fact of the matter is when Pak refused to withdraw, the rest of the resolutions became inoperative way back then. Seventy years later, to call for implementation is slightly ridiculous particularly since there have been very serious changes in the demography and cartography of undivided Kashmir," he said.
The Congress leader said that now Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is 97 per cent Punjabi speaking. "They (Pakistan) have reorganised the administration of places like Gilgit-Baltistan and given away some portion of the territory to China. "After all that, they are the last one with any position to talk about undivided Kashmir and implementing UN resolutions which they have violated from the start," he said.
"So I think it is slightly preposterous for any of these countries to claim holier-than-thou attitude. It is one of the situations where both Pak and China have been complicit in the act of dismembering parts of Jammu and Kashmir much before the recent crisis," he said. Khurshid said the manner in which BJP-led government has abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was "constitutionally questionable".
"Today BJP decides to do away with Article 370. If they have something better than Article 370 that meets the objective of integrating Kashmir even more closely with India, nobody would have any objection. The way in which they have done it is constitutionally questionable," he said.
"Not quite sure politically it's very wise unless you come with something like an adequate or improved alternative so that our joint and the national consensus that Kashmir is an integral part and we strengthened this proposition. We don't think the BJP has shown anything of that kind yet," he added. Congress leaders have spoken in different voices on the issue with some of them agreeing with the government's decision to revoke Article 370. They also agreed with the decision to give UT status to Ladakh.