Pakistan must focus on itself, not talk on J&K: Kishan Reddy
Srinagar: Union minister for tourism and culture Gangapuram Kishan Reddy said on Tuesday that Pakistan has no right to object to India’s holding the third G20 Working Group on Tourism meeting in Srinagar as Jammu and Kashmir is an inseparable part of the country and will remain as such till eternity.
Mr. Reddy who is camping in Srinagar in connection with the 3-day meet that has caught the attention of international media was responding to a query on Islamabad’s assertion that J&K is a disputed territory and India by holding the G20 meet in is capital city is not only misusing its Presidency of the group but has also violated the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, the International law and the UN Charter.
The Union Minister said, “J&K has been a part of India since Independence. Whatever we have been doing here is for the benefit of its people. This is our land, these are our people, and thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for it”. He added, “Pakistan has no right to talk about J&K. It should rather pay attention towards its own people…provide them food and employment. Pakistan is battling a crisis, people are dying of hunger, they do not get rice or gas, so it should focus there.”
He further said that there was no need to give any importance to Pakistan or what it says for it is “finished” and, therefore, Indians should think of their own people in J&K.
Asked to respond to former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s charge that the BJP has hijacked the G20 meeting, Mr. Reddy said some opposition parties do not want peace in J&K. He said, “Development works are taking place in J&K at a faster pace for the first time since Independence. I, therefore, appeal to opposition parties to support our efforts and, if they cannot do it, they should sit silently at home and not become a hurdle.”
J&K’s Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, while speaking to a select group of media persons over High tea at Raj Bhawan here said Pakistan has no locus-standi to question or talk about G20 meet underway in Srinagar. “Pakistan should first address the issues of food and edibles back home,” he said.
Asked about Pakistan's charge that India is “abusing” the G20 presidency and the presence of the UN military observers in J&K, Mr. Sinha said, “G20 presidency is a matter of pride for us. The presence of UN representatives here indicates that the world wants India to host such an event.”
He thanked Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for providing J&K the “historic opportunity” to host the meeting of the G20 Working Group on Tourism and asserted that the decision emphasizes the love he has and the significance he holds for J&K.
Replying to a question on the freedom of press in J&K, he said that over 400 newspapers are being published in the Union Territory. “There is absolute press freedom in J&K. Only three journalists are serving detention and anti-terror agencies are probing their case. Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Indian constitution,” he said.
He said the Kashmir Valley is no more the land of hartals, school closures and separatist activities and that the security agencies have succeeded to a great extent to destroy the “terror ecosystem.” He asserted the primary focus of the J&K administration since the past three years has been on four P’s—Peace, Progress, Prosperity and the People first.