New Delhi, Jan. 6: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday said lawyer-cum-civil activist Prashant Bhushan’s suggestion that a referendum be carried out among the people of Kashmir on the need for the armed forces to continue handling internal security in the state, had been misinterpreted.
“People are interpreting it in the wrong way. He tried to say something else and was not trying to suggest a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir to decide whether the people want the army to handle internal security,” said AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
The AAP has also issued a press statement on what Prashant Bhushan actually implied to say.
“We believe there is nothing to argue about the statement. We still believe that Kashmir is an integral part of India, and even Prashant Bhushan agrees with that. Be it internal security or external security, people cannot decide on such issues, but the state can and has to,” said Vishwas.
“We want to see the country united. We are against any form of referendum,” he said.
In an interview with Aaj Tak’s Seedhi Baat, Bhushan called for a referendum in the valley to decide whether or not the army should be deployed to deal with internal threats in Kashmir.
“People should be asked whether they want that the army to handle the internal security of Kashmir. Any decision, which does not have the backing of the people, is undemocratic. If people feel that the army is violating human rights and they say they don’t want the Army to be deployed for their security then the army should be withdrawn from the hinterland,” he said.
Bhushan further added, “The government can decide if the Army needs to be deployed to deal with external threats along the border. The government can also decide if the Army needs to be kept to help protect the minorities in the valley. But there should be a referendum on whether people want AFSPA to continue in the valley or not.”
When pressed on what would happen if the referendum suggested that the people of Kashmir wanted to break away from India, Bhushan said, “Secession from India is unconstitutional. We have to find solutions within the purview of the constitution. We have to win the hearts of people in the valley who have moved away from the mainstream since they feel that they Army has been deployed in Kashmir against their wishes and is violating their human rights.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that he disagreed with Bhushan’s comment on Kashmir saying that decisions on internal security are taken based on the law and order situation and there cannot be a referendum on deployment of the Army in Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Harshvardhan said no one had the right to contradict parliament’s decision on Kashmir.
“Bhushan said if the people of Kashmir want to separate itself from the country, then what is the issue in doing so,” said Harshvardhan.
“The decision on Kashmir was taken by the parliament and no one has the right to speak against it. How can this country tolerate it?” he asked. (ANI)