The only unfinished task is to take back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), said Union Minister Jitendra Singh in Lok Sabha today, calling Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the "gravest blunder" in post-Independence India.
"Article 370 was a miscarriage of justice. It was the gravest blunder in post-Independence India. The time for redemption has come after 70 years," Mr Singh said during the debate on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill.
The minister from Jammu's Udhampur emphasised that "Kashmir was never an issue" and the only issue that needs addressing is Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or PoK.
"The next task is how to make Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) part of India," he said amid the thumping of desks in the lower house.
Mr Singh, who is Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office (PMO), accused the People's Democratic party or PDP and National Conference (NC) of having vested political interest in the continuation of Article 370.
He also accused the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of not involving the then home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in handling the Kashmir situation and leading to complications.
"Panditji believed he knew Jammu and Kashmir better than Sardar Patel and therefore kept him out of it," he said.
As Congress member Manish Tewari accused the minister of cherry-picking, Mr Singh hit back saying, "If Jawahar Lal Nehru had not interfered, there would have been no Article 370, there would have been no PoK, there would not have been a need of this bill."
He said that when the Indian forces were driving out Pakistani intruders in the 1948 war, Jawahar Lal Nehru went to All India Radio and declared a unilateral ceasefire.
"If he had not done so, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would have been part of India," the minister said.
(With Inputs From ANI)
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