Union Home Minister Amit Shah today blamed former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the formation of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), and said it was because of the "untimely ceasefire" declared in 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for the "non-integration" of Kashmir and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country's first home minister, should have handled the issue, Mr Shah said at a rally in Maharashtra, where assembly polls are due next month.
"The PoK wouldn't have come into existence had Nehru not declared untimely ceasefire with Pakistan... Sardar Patel should have handled Kashmir, instead of Nehru handling it... the princely states handled by Sardar Patel had all become part of India," he said at the event, which was themed on Article 370 of the constitution.
In August, the government had ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories. The restrictions announced in the state since - including the unplugging of internet in Jammu and Kashmir and the house arrest of political leaders - to prevent any backlash, had triggered opposition protests. With Pakistan flagging the issue at international forums, including the United Nation, the matter has also been discussed abroad.
"The Congress sees politics behind Article 370 abrogation, we don't see it that way... for us, it is a matter of nationalism," Amit Shah said, while explaining the BJP's stand on Article 370.
The party, he said, had always supported the idea of "one nation, one Prime Minister and one constitution".
Jawaharlal Nehru's move, he said, led to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the constitution and eventually terrorism in the Kashmir Valley. "Forty thousand people were killed and Kashmiri pundits, Sufis, and Sikhs were driven out from the state in 10 years between 1990 and 2000," he said.
"Rahul Gandhi says Article 370 is a political issue. Rahul Baba, you have come into politics now, but three generations of the BJP have given their life for Kashmir, for the abrogation of Article 370. It is not a political matter for us. It is part of our goal to keep Bharat Maa undivided," Mr Shah said.
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