This Article is From Jan 07, 2014

Kashmir integral part of India, says AAP's Prashant Bhushan after row over referendum remark

Kashmir integral part of India, says AAP's Prashant Bhushan after row over referendum remark

Prashant Bhushan with Arvind Kejriwal (File photo)

New Delhi: After his remarks unfolded a huge political controversy, Prashant Bhushan, a senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party said his party "is of the view that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Needless to say that I share this view." He added, "Any reference to a referendum shouldn't be misconstrued to mean plebiscite on Kashmir's relationship with India."

Mr Bhushan, a lawyer-activist, said on NDTV's We the People on Sunday night that the use of the army for  external and internal security within Kashmir should be treated as separate issues. "For external defense, certainly the government of India can decide where to deploy the army. However, if it is supposed to be used for the internal security of the people there, then should you not have the consent of the people?"

On Monday, it was his own party that sought distance from the remarks. "We don't agree with what Prashant Bhushan said about Kashmir, it's his personal view," said AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Whatever the army wants to do regarding deployment, there is no question of a referendum on it. We do not support Prashant Bhushan's statement." (Arvind Kejriwal disagrees with Prashant Bhushan on Kashmir)

The Congress, which is propping up Mr Kejriwal's minority government in Delhi, offered a sharp rebuke. "It is important for AAP to realize that they are no longer an NGO, they should be aware of the consequences of what they say. Arvind Kejriwal said that he doesn't agree with Prashant Bhushan. If you speak on such a sensitive issue, you should consider thinking about it," said the party's spokesperson Sanjay Jha. (Who said what)

Other parties were quick to join in. Arun Jaitley of the BJP said, "Issues of national security cannot be decided by populism or referendum. They can only be decided on security considerations." (Read Arun Jaitley's blog)

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "Governments get a mandate to govern and decide, they don't need to conduct a referendum before every tricky decision. Leaders must lead."