FM Sitharaman asks Congress to speak in one voice on J-K

Chennai: Describing abrogation of Article 370 as a path breaking decision of the Centre, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Congress should speak in one voice on Jammu and Kashmir and matters of national security.

The opposition party should evaluate the situation, she told reporters here to a question about a reported Pakistan dossier to the UN Human Rights Council purportedly having remarks of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah against the Centre’s action in scrapping special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Congress leadership should please look at what is happening within the country and speak in one voice as regards to issues like Jammu and Kashmir and as regards to issues which matters to the country’s national security,” she told reporters.

The Finance Minister was addressing a press conference on “100 days of bold initiatives and decisive actions taken by the government.” Abrogation of Article 370 was a major path breaking decision of the Centre which gave the opportunity of reservation benefits to Scheduled Castes, and Schedule Tribes, she said.

Addressing the 42nd session of the UNHRC at Geneva, Pakistan on Tuesday said the UN Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, must not remain “indifferent” to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

The Centre last month removed special status under Art 370 to Jammu and Kashmir and announced that the state would be divided into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh. Congress had last month slammed Pakistan for “mischievously” dragging Rahul Gandhi’s name in its petition in the UN.

As reports of Pakistan using his 10 August comments that “there are reports of violence, there are reports of people dying in Jammu and Kashmir” became public, Gandhi had said he disagreed with the BJP-led government on many issues but is clear that Kashmir is India’s internal issue, and violence there was “instigated and supported” by Pakistan.