I Stand By What I Said: Aiyar

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SRINAGAR: Veteran Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar Monday said that people were the best judge and it was up to them to evaluate the facts.

“Whatever I had said, I said and there is no need to react to the statements made by either separatists or National Conference or any other person,” Aiyar said and added Kashmiri people can decide now who is wrong and who is correct.

Hurriat (G) and ruling National Conference had both criticized Aiyar for his remarks, which he made during a function in a private college in North Kashmir’s Pattan area the other day.

Mani Shankar Aiyar said that he does not need to clarify his stand. “I stand for that what I said and people have to decide now who is wrong or right,” he said. 

Aiyar had told a gathering of students in an engineering college in Pattan on Saturday that, It was J&K Police which killed people in 2008, 2009 and 2010. “It is only the magnitude of Army deployment that is causing the problem, otherwise the fault does not lie with AFSPA. J&K Police are unfortunately not well-trained,” he said. 

Aiyar also said that people here defied guns and militants and cast votes. “By participating in polls, people of Kashmir declared that they are very much a part of India”..

The former Union Minister said Azadi in Kashmir would come from within by settling issues at domestic level. “

“If Panchayat Raj is implemented in letter and spirit in Jammu and Kashmir, people would say Azadi has been achieved,” Aiyar said addressing students at the SSM College of Engineering and Technology.

‘Ayer’s Remarks Not Official Party Line’

 Echoing JKPCC president Prof. Saifudin Soz’s stand on 2014 elections, Congress High Command on Monday said that Soz’s recommendations and inputs would form the basis for the final decision.

 “He is the president of the party in the state and his inputs definitely carry weight.” Congress national spokesman Rashid Alvi said on Monday.

Alvi, however made it clear that the party high command was not in a rush to take any decision in this regard and before arriving to any decision, there would be thorough discussion with all top leaders including Prof. Soz.

Pertinently Prof. Soz has already triggered a political storm in the state hinting of going alone in the 2014 Polls.

Congress spokesman also attempted to clear air on the controversial AFSPA,  and said that the official stand of Congress in this regard has been that Jammu and Kashmir Govt. should consult  centre to develop a mutual consensus on the issue.

“On AFSPA, our policy is candid. We are of the opinion that the State Govt. should open dialogue with the centre and try to arrive  at a mutual consensus. The consensus both the Govts. arrive at, would be automatically the final decision in this regard.” Alvi said. 

He however declined to endorse senior Congress leader and former Union Minster, Mani Shanker Ayer’s statement on AFSPA and said, 

“We have a democracy in the party and anyone can put forth his point of view, but our official line is that both the Govts. have to reach a mutual consensus on AFSPA.”

He however was quick to add, “I won’t comment on Ayer’s statement beyond this unless we go through it properly.”  

Rashid Alvi also evaded a question regarding Ayer’s statement on Afzal Guru’s hanging and his criticism of the state police and said, “I don’t know in what context he has given the statement.” (KNS)

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