Indian minister stirs controversy on Kashmir

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Indian minister stirs controversy on Kashmir

Islamabad : Former Indian Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had recently stirred a controversy in India by saying that more civilians were being killed in Army operations in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) than terrorists.

Subsequently a sedition complaint has been filed in a Delhi court against senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and another former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz for making ‘derogatory’ statements against the Army. According to Indian media reports the complaint was filed by advocate Shashi Bhushan at the Patiala House Court. Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had recently stirred a controversy by saying that ”more civilians were being killed in Army operations in Jammu and Kashmir than terrorists.” The plea filed by Bhushan seeks action against the politician for offences under Sections 124 (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 505 (1) (spreading rumour about Army/Navy/IAF official which is likely to cause mutiny) of the Indian Penal Code.

In his plea, the petitioner claimed that the alleged remarks were painting the Army as killers of innocents which were “nothing less than waging war against the country”. The matter will now come up for hearing on Saturday before a magisterial court here. According to the complaint, in a TV interview on June 22, Azad had allegedly said the “Indian Army in IHK was killing more civilians than terrorists during military operations in the state.” The complaint also accused the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti of spreading hatred and trying to malign the country’s image. Former union minister Saifuddin Soz had last week said that ‘azadi’ is not possible in Kashmir and the only way forward is for all stakeholders to sit together and hold a vigorous dialogue to solve the problem. Soz also blamed the media for “twisting” his statement on supporting Pervez Musharraf’s proposal for giving autonomy to Kashmiris, which had invited sharp criticism from the BJP even though the Congress distanced itself from his comments. He was speaking at the launch of his book – “Kashmir-Glimpses of history and the story of struggle”, where no Congress leader was present except former Union minister Jairam Ramesh. Soz, however, said that Vallabhbhai Patel was ready to give Kashmir to Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first PM, as he was a pragmatic man and wanted to avoid a war with the neighbouring country.

He claimed that it was Lord Mountbatten and not Jawaharlal Nehru who took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. The Congress later termed his remarks as a “cheap gimmick” to promote his book, which was released recently. The ruling BJP at the Centre, which had recently ended its alliance with Mufti-led PDP and pulled out of the coalition government in J&K, had demanded action against Azaad and Soz for their defamatory remarks. The ruling party launched a barrage of attack on the Congress after Pakistan-backed terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba backed the statements made by Azad and Soz and demanded an apology from the Rahul Gandhi-led party.