CHENNAI: The DMK and its president M. K. Stalin appear to be in a fix after the party spokesman A. Saravanan was accused of stating in a TV debate that Kashmir "is not an integral part of India" and the show anchor warning that the Election Commission could de-recognise the DMK unless its leadership disowned the statement that violated the Constitution.
Five days after that stormy TV session from which he walked out alleging mistreatment, Saravanan on Saturday came out with a statement clarifying that he had only said Kashmir ‘was’ not an integral part of India but the show anchor, Arnab Goswami, twisted it to claim wrongly that he had said Kashmir "is" not an part of India.
The debate on ‘Republic TV’ on August 12 has triggered outrage on social media with several twitteratti slamming Saravanan and his party as being unpatriotic and even anti-national. A few also backed Arnab’s warning that the EC could de-recognise the DMK.
Seconds after Mr Saravanan made that observation on J and K in the debate, when he was called upon to speak by Arnab, the latter is seen reacting angrily and asking Stalin if he approved his spokesman’s stand on Kashmir.
“Mr M.K. Stalin, your party spokesperson Saravanan has come on my programme and said that in his view Jammu and Kashmir is not an integral part of India.
By doing so, he does not believe in the sovereignty of the country and the nation wants to know Mr. Stalin, do you believe that J and K is not an integral part of India or not. If you don't believe, then you need to tell us what is your stand on the subject? You (DMK) cannot be in national politics, or any politics in this country; you must be de-recognised by the Election Commission if you believe J and K is not an integral part of India. Tomorrow you will go and make another secessionist comment.”
Saravanan then in the programme tries to explain what he meant, but nothing much is audible in the noisy exchanges except for some reference to history by him. At one point Arnab says he wished to “engage Saravanan one-on-one,” giving the latter an opportunity to make amends by clarifying that his Kashmir statement was just an impulsive utterance and he did not mean it.
But Saravanan chose to walk away from the show, prompting Arnab in high-pitched tone telling him, “Don't run away, running away is not a solution” and then he addresses Stalin seeking his stand on the issue. “Had he (Saravanan) stayed, I would have told him a few things on India's history,” adds Arnab.
With the controversy taking a serious turn in the social media and some even floating a theory that the NIA is probing Saravanan, the DMK headquarters put out a statement from him on Saturday wherein he claimed he was not allowed in the show to complete the initial part of his utterance, “Kashmir was never an integral part of India.”
But Arnab Goswami, “without giving me an opportunity to explain or complete my thought process, twisted my incomplete utterance to ascribe to me a statement that Kashmir is not a part of India,” Saravanan claimed, explaining that he had only said Kashmir “was” not an integral part of India. He had not used the word “is”, he said.
“As a disciplined cadre of the DMK, I did not register any view in the TV programme that was against the unity and integrity of India,” Saravanan said.
Referring to the circumstances under which the erstwhile Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh had signed the instrument of accession to India, Saravanan said it was with “certain conditions” that Kashmir became a part of India.
Subsequently, the Constituent Assembly of J and K endorsed the accession and under Article 3 of the J and K Constitution in 1956, it said, “State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.” It was only to point out to that historical fact in the process of accession of J and K into the Indian Republic, “I had initially used the words Kashmir was never an integral part of India,” said Saravanan.
The DMK spokesman also alleged that BJP sympathisers in social media were photo-shopping and trolling him, calling names. He also charged that he was “verbally abused” in the course of the TV debate and hence he walked out as he did not wish to be “made a scapegoat” in this issue.