Press Council chairman justice Markandey Katju has criticised lawyer Prashant Bhushan for his advocacy of plebiscite in Kashmir, saying that it will encourage secession in other parts of India.
However, he denounced the assault on the lawyer-activist in his chambers in the Supreme Court last week by right-wing Ram Sene workers for his views on Kashmir.
"We have to remain united. I do not agree with (Bhushan) saying that you can secede. I do not accept all this," Justice Katju, appointed recently as PCI Chairman, told Shekhar Gupta in the 'Walk the Talk' programme on NDTV.
He was asked to comment on Bhushan's views expressed in Varanasi recently favouring a plebiscite (referendum) in Kashmir if efforts to convince people there to stay as part of India failed.
"You know this is a country of immigrants. You must realise what is India. 92 to 93 per cent of people living in India are descendants of immigrants, including you and me. We are like North America. And because we are a country of immigrants, there is tremendous diversity and, therefore, we must be tolerant of each other and, at the same time, we must be united," justice Katju said.
An outspoken judge, who demitted office as Supreme Court judge only recently, he said, "This saying that you can secede and you can...Did Abraham Lincoln allow the southern states of the USA to secede...Otherwise, you see there is so much diversity in India, if you allow Kashmir to secede, then Mizoram will secede, Tamil Nadu will secede, everyone will talk of seceding. We must remain together, you must understand what is India."