Nehru internationlised Kashmir issue: Sitharaman in Rajya Sabhatext_fields
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday waded into a potential controversy after she criticised the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru accusing him of internationalising the Kashmir issue by taking it to the United Nations.
The topic cropped up in Rajya Sabha as she engaged in a discussion on the Budget for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
Calling it an essentially Indian issue, the minister averred that it should not have been taken to the United Nations. Giving a pat on the back for her government, she said "we are showing the difference now".
Congress lawmaker Anand Sharma responded that the issue at the time of taking the matter to UN was whether there would be a "cessation of the military conflict or not" and added that India did not accept the plebiscite.
Anand Sharma delineated that India never gave sanctity to UN Observers' Office and conducted polls bringing elected governments to power.
"Not only that, we fought wars and we made it very clear repeatedly, and this has been India's consistent position, prior to 2014, that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral part of the sovereign State of India," Sharma added.
Sitharaman claimed decline in terror activities in J&K by 61 per cent following the abrogation of Article 370. Alongside there has been a 33 per cent fall in infiltration attempts , and 90 per cent drop in ceasefire violations as well as terror incidents have gone down to 229 in 2022 from 244 in 2020. She further detailed the benefits of new policies saying there was 80 per cent reduction in abductions by terrorists. The casualties involving police and security personnel also have been declined by 33 per cent.
People of the UT were enjoying benefits of 890 Central laws being applied to the state, she said. As part of the process, 270 state laws were revoked and 130 were modified. The government according to her is brining jobs and investments, and she particularly referred to Gulf Cooperation Countries seeking investment possibilities in the UT.
As for the exodus of Kashmir pundits in 1990, she refuted the Opposition's charge that BJP shared the responsibility as it was supporting VP Singh government at the time.
She countered that terror killings were happening there even before 1990 when the National Conference was in power in alliance with the Congress. She reminded the house of the then governor Jagmohan's warning of dark clouds of terror overpowering the valley.