Jaitley slams Chidambaram’s Autonomy Talk

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New Delhi—Attributing the Kashmir problem to the flawed policy of the Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Sunday that its position with regard to “azaadi or greater autonomy” for Jammu and Kashmir was against the national interest.

Jaitley was responding to a statement by senior Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram who said when people of Jammu and Kashmir ask for “azaadi”, most of them mean they want greater autonomy.

“The position that the Congress has taken with regard to azaadi or autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir goes directly contrary to India’s national interest.”

“It was the flawed policy of the Congress right since 1947 which is responsible for the Kashmir problem,” Jaitley told reporters in Mumbai.

The Kashmir problem is the Congress’s legacy, he said, adding “now instead of learning from its past mistakes, the Congress wants to precipitate a crisis for this country.”

File images of P Chidambaram and Arun Jaitley. AgenciesFile images of P Chidambaram and Arun Jaitley. Agencies

“I think the Congress is deceiving the whole country, it is deceiving itself and it is encouraging separatism in J&K. It is hurting India’s national interest and this is a very serious issue,” he said.

Dubbing 10 years of the UPA government as a “wasted opportunity on J&K”, Jaitley said “not a single initiative worked and you had a mass civil disobedience in terms of stone throwing agitation, you had terrorism and terrorists on top, you had normal life being disturbed.

“We have succeeded in squeezing the funds for terrorists. The mass protests of stone throwers are by and large over. Intelligence network from village to village has been re-established, terrorists are on the run and security forces have the upper hand,” he said.

He also asked the Congress to make it clear if Chidambaram’s statement is the official stand of the party.

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