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Narendra Modi govt mishandling Kashmir situation, says Rahul Gandhi

The Congress vice-president said Kashmir is India’s strength and the government is making it India’s weakness.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2017 20:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Narendra Modi,Kashmir
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addresses the media at the party office in Chennai on Sunday.(PTI)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi government of mishandling the situation in insurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir, where public clashes with security forces escalated after the killing of a popular militant leader last July.

“Kashmir is India’s strength and they are making it India’s weakness,” he said in Chennai on Sunday and asserted his party will continue to oppose the BJP’s plan to thrust its idea of India.

He said he had “warned” defence minister Arun Jaitley that the Centre is heading towards “setting Kashmir on fire”.

“Around six or seven months ago, Mr Arun Jaitley came to see me and I told him that they are mishandling Kashmir and they are going to set Kashmir on fire. And Jaitley said Kashmir is peaceful,” news agency PTI quoted Gandhi as saying.

His comments follow Jaitley’s statement on Friday that security forces are in a “dominant position” along the Line of Control, the de-facto border between India and Pakistan, in Kashmir.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh also assured on Saturday that the government is working towards a “permanent solution” for Kashmir, but “it might take some time”.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi greets DMK chief M Karunanidhi on his 94th birthday at his Gopalapuram residence in Chennai on Sunday. (PTI)

Gandhi was in the Tamil Nadu capital to attend the 94th birthday of DMK patriarch K Karunanidhi. The event attracted a host of leaders from the anti-BJP bloc, such as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Trinamool Congress parliamentarian Derek O’Brien.

The Congress vice president said a united opposition will “fight and defeat” the BJP and RSS’s attempts to “thrust one idea” on a country that celebrates diversity.

“Each state has a culture, own thinking, own way of expression and food and this diversity was India’s strength and not a weakness,” Gandhi said.

“The BJP and RSS are under the impression that one idea can be placed on top of India.”

Opposition leaders at the DMK event raised these issues, Gandhi said.

“But India is not one idea. India is thousands of different ideas and this one idea of the RSS will never ever crush the thousands of ideas.”

The Opposition accuses the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, of trying to make India a Hindu nation. RSS leaders voice this idea but the organisation hasn’t officially endorsed it.

The DMK alleges that the BJP-ruled Centre is imposing Hindi on the people of the state, which is historically against the language. Gandhi said all languages should be respected.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 04, 2017 20:03 IST