New Delhi: Congress leader Digvijay Singh found himself embroiled in another controversy after he referred to Jammu and Kashmir as "India-occupied Kashmir" in an interview with journalists. He later rectified the statement saying Kashmir is an integral part of India.
This is what he said first: “Narendra Modi thinks more about Pak-occupied Kashmir. He congratulates people from Balochistan. But he is not ready to talk to the people of Kashmir in India. First, we have to create confidence in Kashmir, be it India-occupied Kashmir or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. If we have to build trust in people, then it is only possible through talks. The situation will not improve with this confrontationist remarks of the Prime Minister. It will only worsen.”
And then, just as he was about to leave, a reporter questions him as to why he said ‘India-occupied Kashmir.’ Realising the faux-pas, he clarified, “No, I meant the Kashmir in India. I said he does not think about the Kashmir in India, only about Pak-occupied Kashmir. Kashmir is an integral part of India.”
Singh further dwelt upon the need to win the hearts of the people of Kashmir and advocated for strong action against terrorists infiltrating into the Valley. The Kashmir Valley has been under the spotlight for the last two months ever since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, which led to large-scale protests in the state. More than 60 people have been killed in clashes with security forces so far.
At the same time, Pakistan has needled India by demanding ‘freedom’ for the people of Kashmir and hailing Wani as a ‘martyr.’ In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit back, saying that the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have expressed gratitude to him. Deep sentiments of antipathy exist in these provinces against the government of Pakistan ever since the country’s independence.