Is J&K India’s internal matter, asks AR Chowdhury, stumps Sonia Gandhi

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday (August 6) sought to know from the government whether Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter or a bilateral issue, saying the United Nations has been monitoring the situation since 1948.

Chowdhury’s remarks triggered protests from treasury benches and even left former Congress president Sonia Gandhi stumped.

“You say it is an internal matter. The UN has been monitoring the situation since 1948. Then there is Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. Whether this is a bilateral matter or an internal matter…” he asked.

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Chowdhury said he needed clarification on the issue. A baffled Sonia Gandhi was seen staring at him in disbelief and questioning MPs behind Chowdhury as he spoke.

Initiating the debate on the motions to abrogate  360 and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill from the Congress side, Manish Tewari tried to trace the origins of Article 370 and said the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir chose to accede to India.

However, there were some special provisions while joining the Union of India, he said. Slamming the government over the proposed legislations, he said the government cannot change the boundaries of the state without consulting the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

“This is travesty of Constitution (savidhnaik trasti)”, Tewari said. “This is not in the spirit of Parliament,” he said.

Tewari also raised queries over the fate of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Home Minister Amit Shah asked what was the Congress stand on Article 370.

To this, Tewari said, “Everything cannot be black and white. There are 50 shades of grey in between.” He also said it was due to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad became a part of India.

The government on Monday (August 5) revoked some provisions of the Article 370 to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, and proposed bifurcation of the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, a bold and far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the Centre of a protracted militancy movement.

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