Row erupts as Congress booklet shows J-K as ‘Indian-occupied Kashmir’
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Row erupts as Congress booklet shows J-K as ‘Indian-occupied Kashmir’

The map on Kashmir was used to describe the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to be built through PoK and Balochistan.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2017 23:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The cover page of the Congress booklet that was released on Saturday.(ANI Twitter)

The Congress criticised on Saturday the Narendra Modi government for being “lax” on national security, but the party found itself mired in a controversy after releasing a booklet that referred to Kashmir as “Indian-occupied Kashmir”. Terming the incident “highly objectionable”, the BJP said the Congress must make its stand clear whether the opposition party was with India or Pakistan.

The wrong map on Kashmir was published on page 12 of the 15-page booklet titled “National Security Endangered. Bravado, Rhetoric, Hyperbole Rules” about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

“The CPEC worth $54 billion built through PoK/Balochistan connecting Gwadar Port in Arabian Sea to China with base for Chinese submarines. Does it not compromise India’s sovereignty over PoK and affects our strategic interests in the Arabian Sea with Chinese Naval Presence,” read the booklet.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) spokesman Satyadev Tripathi, however, said the map was a “printing mistake”.

“The Congress’s policy on Jammu and Kashmir is very clear. This printing mistake does not change the party’s policy,” said Tripathi.

The booklet was circulated to the media at a press conference addressed by All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (UP in-charge) Ghulam Nabi Azad in the presence of UPCC president Raj Babbar at the party headquarters in Lucknow.

Azad said the Modi government failed to keep its promises and was “misleading the people by inaugurating projects” initiated during the UPA government.

He said Modi invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony, and targeted the Prime Minister for his Pakistan and China policy.

The senior Congress leader said that out of the 172 terror attacks in the last three years of the Modi government, there were 12 major attacks in the past 21 months.

Azad said the NDA government has compromised India’s defence preparedness as the Indian Air Force’s fighter fleet had fallen to a record low, and added that the defence capital budget has been drastically reduced by the NDA government.

Demanding an unconditional apology from the Congress to the country, UP BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi said, “This is highly objectionable, and it goes on to prove that on one hand the Indian Army is eliminating the terrorists, while the Congress is refusing to believe that Kashmir is an integral part of India.”

“Border dispute with Pakistan and terrorism in Kashmir is a gift of the Congress,” Tripathi said.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “A Parliament resolution says even Pak-occupied Kashmir is part of India. By projecting Kashmir as Indian-occupied Kashmir, the Congress party has not only made separatists happy but also gladdened the heart of its patrons across the border. It is condemnable.”

Shrikant Sharma, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government and its spokesperson, alleged that releasing such a map amounted to “treason” and Congress president Sonia Gandhi should apologise for it.

He said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi earlier went to JNU to sympathise with “traitors” and the party also questioned the authenticity of cross-LoC surgical strikes to “bring down” the army’s morale.

Congress leader Ajay Maken said it was a “printing error” but admitted that it was his party’s responsibility to ensure that such a mistake was not allowed.

“We apologise for this and will ensure that such a mistake is not repeated,” he said.

Targeting the BJP, he said its website on March 28, 2014 showed a similar map. He claimed a map which was released the same year in September during the signing of a treaty with China in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had shown Arunachal Pradesh as part of China.

The difference between the BJP and the Congress is that “we admit our mistake but they don’t”.

“Before raising questions, they should respond to publication of such maps,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 03, 2017 21:55 IST