Arun Jaitley reacts to P Chidambaram’s Azadi for Jammu and Kashmir comment, asks clarification from Congress

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New Delhi | Published: October 28, 2017 10:45:50 PM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday reacted to Congress leader P Chidambaram's comment over Jammu and Kashmir's "Azadi" by saying that it was against the national interest.

Arun Jaitley reacts to P Chidambaram’s Azadi for Jammu and Kashmir comment, asks clarification from Congress. (ANI).

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday reacted to Congress leader P Chidambaram’s comment over Jammu and Kashmir’s “Azadi” by saying that it was against the national interest. While speaking to reporters, Jaitley said, “The position Congress has taken with regard to ‘Azadi’ or autonomy to be given to Jammu and Kashmir, goes directly contrary to India’s national interest,” as per ANI report. Recalling the past, Jaitley added, “It was a flawed policy of Congress right since 1947 which is responsible for the Kashmir problem.” The Union minister also said that it is the Congress legacy that is responsible for problems in Kashmir. He said, “Kashmir problem is a Congress legacy. Instead of learning from its past mistakes, Congress wants to precipitate a crisis further for this country.” Jaitley while talking to the reporters said that UPA government in their 10-year term wasted time and did not do anything for Jammu and Kashmir. He said, “10 years of the UPA Government was a wasted opportunity on Jammu and Kashmir, not a single initiative worked. They had terrorism on top.” Jaitley then cited the success BJP had in Kashmir ever since they came into power.

He said, “We have succeeded in squeezing the funds for the terrorists, mass protests of stone throwers are by and large over.” Jaitley then said that Congress is just deceiving the country and is encouraging the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir which are hurting the national interest. “Congress is deceiving the country, itself and encouraging separatism in Jammu and Kashmir. It is hurting India’s national interest,” he was quoted saying by ANI.

Asking for clarification from Chidambaram over his controversial comment, Jaitley said, “Serious issue whether statement that has come from a prominent Congress leader is Congress’ official stand or not? Should clarify immediately.”

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Earlier, on Saturday evening Chidambaram had said that when people of Jammu and Kashmir ask for “Azadi”, most of them mean they want greater autonomy, as per PTI report. The former Home Minister, who has in the past advocated greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir reiterated that the state should be given more powers under Article 370 of the Constitution. “Yes, I do,” Chidambaram said when he was asked if he still thinks that Jammu and Kashmir should be given greater autonomy.

“The demand in the Kashmir Valley is to respect the letter and spirit of Article 370, that means they want greater autonomy, the PTI report added. My interactions in Jammu and Kashmir led me to the conclusion that when they ask for Azadi, mostly, I am not saying all the overwhelming majority, they want autonomy,” he said, as per PTI report.

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