Congress questions purpose of ‘envoys tour’ to Kashmir

New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2020 Published on January 09, 2020

The Opposition has questioned a visit by Ambassadors of over 16 countries to Kashmir alleging that the Centre is trying to “internationalise” the Kashmir issue deviating from the stated position of the country, so far, that it is a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.

The Opposition Congress also asked the Centre why it is not allowing political leaders at home to visit the State.

Congress leader and MP Jairam Ramesh said 15 or 16 Ambassadors of different countries were on a guided tour of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. “They will meet a selected few people there. This is the second attempt of this government. You might remember that on October 30, last year an international broker had taken some Members of Parliament from European Countries on a one-day tour of J&K and afterwards the government had to issue a clarification that ‘this was not an official tour, this was an unofficial tour’. But today’s visit is an official one, wherein the Ambassadors have been taken on a visit to J&K,” he said.

He said the Congress Working Committee scheduled to meet on Friday will discuss such issues in detail along with the economic situation and problems in universities.

He said the Congress’s objection is not related to the visit, but about not allowing the country’s own political leaders to visit J&K. If members of the Indian Parliament are barred from visiting J&K, then what purpose the visit of Ambassadors would serve, he asked. “Three former chief ministers of J&K are still under house-arrest, one former chief minister and our leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had to approach the Supreme Court to seek permission to visit J&K. CPI(M) Leader Sitaram Yechury could visit there for 1-2 days only with Supreme Court intervention. Rahul Gandhi was stopped at the airport itself. When our Parliamentary delegation cannot visit, our MPs cannot visit, our LoP cannot visit, the former President of the Congress Party cannot visit, CPI(M) leader cannot visit, then what is the purpose of taking this international delegation of 15-16 ambassadors on a tour of J&K. This is nothing but double standard of this Government,” he charged and demanded free access to all at the earliest.

Ramesh said the Prime Minister and the Home Minister were only indulging in statements and counter-statements, claims and counter-claims. “Congress wants that meaningful political activities should be initiated in J&K at the earliest. This political tourism of taking the Ambassadors on guided tour of J&K should be stopped,” he said.

Economy facing crisis

The former Rural Development Minister said the country’s economic condition is very serious and alarming.

“The official data says that in the financial year 2019-20, the rate of GDP growth will be 5 per cent. SBI, the leading bank of our country, has estimated that this will not be 5 per cent but 4.5 per cent that means rate of GDP growth will even be lesser than 5 per cent. The rate of economic growth as we know, one is called real GDP and the other one is called nominal GDP, means in one rate of inflation is taken into consideration whereas in nominal GDP the rate of inflation is not taken into consideration. On the basis of nominal GDP, if we look at this figure, we will come to know that we have reached this dangerous situation after a gap of 42 years. The least rate of growth we are witnessing in 2019 after the year 1978,” Ramesh said.

He alleged that the government is least bothered about this situation and has been busy in the politics of polarisation.

Published on January 09, 2020
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