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Chidambaram hits back, says Modi 'imagining a ghost' on J&K autonomy issue

Chidambaram said it was obvious that the prime minister had not read the whole answer to the question put to him on Jammu and Kashmir at an event in Rajkot

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Chidambaram, P Chidambaram
P Chidambaram

Retorting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of his remarks on and Kashmir's autonomy, senior leader P Chidambaram said today that he was "imagining a ghost and attacking it" and maintained that those criticising him should first read his comments. Chidambaram said it was obvious that the prime minister had not read the whole answer to the question put to him on and at an event in Rajkot yesterday. "Those who criticise must read the whole answer and tell me which word in the answer was wrong. The PM is imagining a ghost and attacking it," he told PTI here. Askedduring an interaction in Rajkot whether he still felt that and should be accorded greater autonomy todefusethe unrest in thevalley,he said. "Yes...

The demand in Valley is to respect in letter and spirit And that means that they want greater autonomy. My interactions in and led me to the conclusion that when they ask for 'azadi', most people - I am not saying all - (an) overwhelming majority want autonomy." "Therefore, I think we should seriously examine that question and consider on what areas we can give autonomy to and Kashmir," the former Union home minister said. Observing that granting such autonomy will be "perfectly within the Constitution of India", Chidambaram said, "and will remain an integral part of India but it will have larger powers as promised under (of the Constitution)." At a rally in Bengaluru, the prime minister today came down heavily on the veteran leader, terming his statement "shameful". Without taking Chidambaram's name, Modi said, "All of a sudden, those who were in power till yesterday have taken a U-turn. Shamelessly, they are making a statement and are lending their voice for Kashmir's azadi." "We will not make any compromise on the country's unity and integrity nor will allow anyone to do so," he said. The prime minister said it was a reprehensible attempt by the to support those calling for 'azadi' in and this was nothing but "an insult to our soldiers". The has already distanced itself from Chidambaram's comments. In a statement,communication department head Randeep Surjewala has said, "Jammu, & Ladakh is an integral part of Indian Union and will always remain so unquestionably... (The) opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the Indian In our democracy, individuals are entitled to opinions. "Today, Chidambaram also said neither the nor him had criticised the "surgical strike" carried out by the Indian Army on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied in September, 2016. "We pointed out that these were cross-border actions and such actions had been done in the past too, as admitted by the Army Chief," he added.

First Published: Sun, October 29 2017. 19:22 IST
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