In Assembly, MLA Challenges Kashmir’s Accession to India

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SRINAGAR: An independent legislator of Jammu and Kashmir Er Sheikh Abdur Rasheed on Monday toed the separatist line by telling the State Assembly that J&K was not an integral part of India and saying New Delhi must understand that there was no substitute to plebiscite in the State.
The ruling party BJP has taken strong exception to lawmaker’s statement and demanded his disqualification from the Assembly.
While speaking in Assembly on the discussion on demand for grants of power sector, Rasheed, who is MLA Langate, said MLAs should understand the historic reality and inform New Delhi that there was no substitute to plebiscite in the State.
He told the lawmakers that J&K is not India’s integral part of India.
This was objected to by BJP and Congress MLAs.  
BJP’s firebrand leader and MLA Ravindra Raina hit out at Rasheed saying, “Don’t you remember you have taken an oath as MLA to protect sovereignty and integrity of India”.
Amid heated exchange of words with BJP and Congress MLAs, Rasheed said even if he is hanged, he will still say that J&K is neither India’s integral part nor Pakistan’s jugular vein.
“Even if you send me to jail, debar me from contesting elections or hang me, it will not force me to change my stand on Kashmir,” he said adding people in J&K have sacrificed about one lakh lives and can’t compromise on right to self-determination granted to them by United Nations.
Rasheed, who is second time MLA, said, “I am not against India’s sovereignty but am talking simply about J&K, which has become a bone of contention between India and Pakistan”.
He said J&K Assembly has no authority to overrule UN resolutions.
The MLA said New Delhi has been stating that people in J&K have cast their votes in huge numbers and people living in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) are not comfortable with Pakistan.
“So, there is no reason for India to run away from plebiscite. May be people on both sides of LoC will vote for India and then whole J&K will become India’s integral part,” Rasheed said.
BJP took a strong exception of Rasheed’s statement saying people who don’t consider J&K as an integral part of India have no right to stay here and should migrate to Pakistan.
 “It seems MLA Rasheed has forgotten that as an MLA, he is under oath to protect the sovereignty and integrity of India. If he believes J&K is not an integral part of India, he should tender resignation from the Assembly and join the separatist camp or migrate to Pakistan,” BJP spokesman in Kashmir Khalid Jehangir said.
He said it is unfortunate that MLA Rasheed despite enjoying all the privileges and drawing hefty salary is questioning J&K’s merger with India.
“He should be disqualified from the assembly and debarred from contesting any elections in the near future,” BJP spokesman said adding such people have no right to be the part of mainstream politics in the State.

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