- Amit Shah said centre was correcting Nehru's missteps after Independence
- PoK would have been a part of India if not for 1947 ceasefire, he added
- He said Jammu and Kashmir will prosper due to decision on special status
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that the centre's decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 last month was only the first step towards correcting a series of missteps by Jawaharlal Nehru that ended up alienating the region from the rest of the country.
Addressing an event organised by the Samkalp Former Civil Servants Forum at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in the national capital, Amit Shah claimed that the first Indian Prime Minister's decision to internationalise the Kashmir issue was his biggest mistake in the years following the country's Independence. "In 1948, India went to United Nations. That was a Himalayan blunder. It was more than a Himalayan blunder," he said.
The second mistake, Amit Shah claimed, was choosing the wrong article in the UN Charter to address the issue. "Instead of Article 35, the government should have opted for Article 51. That would have made it a matter of illegal occupation by Pakistan on Indian land and not about who owns it," he said, adding that the demand for a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir has risen from this very mistake.
While Article 35 of the United Nations Charter is used to bring disputes among member-nations to the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly, Article 51 provides for the "inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member-nation".
Amit Shah also indicated at the meet that Jammu and Kashmir would not have become a controversial issue if then Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel had handled it. "There were 631 princely states when India achieved independence in 1947, and 630 of them were handled by Vallabhbhai Patel and one by Nehru. The 630 princely states were merged with the Union of India completely but Jammu and Kashmir continued to be a problem," he said.
He told the gathering that even Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir would have become an undisputed part of the country if the Indian Army was allowed to march into it on October 27, 1947. "But suddenly, the then government announced a ceasefire. What was the need to announce a ceasefire when we were about to win the war? Had the ceasefire not been declared, that region would have been ours today," he said.
But the tide was now changing in India's favour with the Narendra Modi government's "historic decision" on Article 370, Amit Shah claimed. "Kashmir's history was twisted and placed before the country... The time has now come to rewrite it truthfully," he said, predicting that Jammu and Kashmir will emerge as the most developed region in the country over the next 10 years.
On August 5, the centre had scrapped the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into two distinct union territories. The move escalated tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which approached the United Nations with allegations of human rights violations in the region.
(With inputs from PTI)