New Delhi: Caught in a storm over his remarks in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Tuesday sought to wriggle out of his statement that Kashmir is not an internal issue of India saying the region has been under international attention for long.
"If anybody wants to manufacture controversy, then I don't have anything to say on it. What I have said inside the Parliament is on record. But I would request all the concerned media persons and government also that they should divide everything in its entirety," he said.
"They should not indulge in cut and paste policy. Since 1948, Kashmir has been under the monitoring mechanism of the United Nations. So,in the wake of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir state, what should be the stand and status of our country and also Jammu and Kashmir?" he told ANI after his remarks in the Lok Sabha created flutters in political circles.
The Congress MP from Behrampur in West Bengal said that Kashmir has always been under international attention.
"I simply sought clarification from the government but they are manufacturing my clarification. I simply express my regret for it. Kashmir has always been under the attention of the international forum. If Kashmir issue is so easy, why should this govt yesterday address the embassy people (diplomats) of various countries? I simply sought a clarification from the government," he added.
Raising a query over the status of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), he said "In this parliament in 1994, we adopted a resolution that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has to be restored. It has to be brought into the ambit of our country. Now once Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated, what shall be the status of PoK?
He said the government has not mentioned anything about PoK in the Bill.
Questioning India's long-established position, the Congress leader earlier in the day threw a shocker in the Lok Sabha, asking how was Kashmir issue an "internal matter" if "United Nations is monitoring it since 1948."
His remarks not only are contrary to New Delhi's decade-old stand on Kashmir but is also in stark contrast to the country's views on U.N. Military Observers Group on India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), a group of UN military observers deputed in 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
India has opposed UNMOGIP's operations especially after the Shimla Agreement of 1972 that says the Kashmir issue is to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan. Islamabad, however, has frequently called for third-party involvement in the matter.
In 2014, India had asked UNMOGIP to vacate the bungalows provided to it in the national capital by the government.
"You say that it is an internal matter, but it is being monitored since 1948 by the UN, is that an internal matter? We signed the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, was that an internal matter or bilateral?" Chowdhury said in the Lok Sabha.
Sharpening his party's attack against the Centre over the scrapping of Article 370, the lawmaker said, "S Jaishankar told Mike Pompeo a few days before that Kashmir is a bilateral matter, so don't interfere in it. Can Jammu and Kashmir still be an internal matter? We want to know. Entire Congress party wants to be enlightened by you."