New Delhi, August 18: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh referred to Jammu and Kashmir as “India-occupied Kashmir” in a statement made to the media, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The political leader, who later corrected himself, made the remark while criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s for bringing up the controversial Pakistani region of Balochistan in his Independence Day speech.
Singh said that India needed to “create confidence in Kashmir, be it India-occupied Kashmir or Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”. He added that the situation in the state would get “worse” because of the “confrontationist remarks” made by Modi. However, after being asked why he referred to a part of the region as ‘India-occupied Kashmir’, Singh clarified, saying that the whole of Kashmir was “an integral part of India”.
The Congress leader’s remarks came as Bharatiya Janata Party leader Venkaiah Naidu criticised the party over its “inconsistency” on Kashmir. Naidu said that former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s statement blaming the People’s Democratic Party-BJP coalition government in the state for the situation in the Valley showed the “casual and reckless manner of the Congress” when discussing the issue.
The row between both parties comes in the wake of violence in the Kashmir valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by Indian security forces on July 8. A total of 66 people have died in protests and clashes with security forces in different parts of the state. The situation has also led to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights appealing to both India and Pakistan for independent access to the region.