New Delhi/Srinagar: Sounding the poll bugle ahead of local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday termed the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration an “unholy global alliance” that along with the Congress wants to return to the era of terror and turmoil.
The statement evoked angry reactions from the Congress, NC and the PDP, which dismissed the remarks as baseless and hit out at the minister.
In a series of tweets, Shah also labelled the PAGD, a newly formed conglomerate of political parties, the “Gupkar Gang” that is going global and wants foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Congress and the Gupkar Gang want to take JK back to the era of terror and turmoil. They want to take away rights of Dalits, women and tribals that we have ensured by removing Article 370. This is why they’re being rejected by the people everywhere,” he said.
Shah’s comments came ahead of the first phase of District Development Council elections on November 28, the first political exercise since the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 on August 5 last year and bifurcated the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The minister said Jammu and Kashmir was, is and will always be an integral part of India and the people of the country will no longer tolerate an unholy global gathbandhan against India’s national interest.
“Either the Gupkar Gang swims along with the national mood or else the people will sink it,” he said.
The home minister also questioned Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on whether they support the PAGD.
“The Gupkar Gang also insults India’s tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India,” he said.
Hitting back, the Congress said it strongly refutes his “concocted and baseless” assertions. In a two-page statement posted on Twitter, its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused Shah of making mischievous statements on Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress was never in favour of international intervention on Kashmir issue and was committed to the country’s integrity, sovereignty and the tricolour, he said.
“Maybe Amit Shah and the Modi government need a new lesson on nationalism because their parental organisation RSS did not hoist the tricolour for 52 years after independence at its headquarters,” he said.
According to Surjewala, the BJP is criticising the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP without realising that they shared power after 2014.
The Congress leader also asked Shah who was responsible for the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar, released along with two others in exchange for the passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in Kandahar in December 1999.
In Srinagar, the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) said the party was neither a part of the PAGD nor had it participated in any of its meetings or deliberations.
Congress Party has entered seat sharing at certain places that too at local district level, the statement said, adding that it strongly condemns the baseless allegations and urges him to refrain from dirty politics. PTI .