Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko speaks at Rajya Sabha in New Delhi
Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko speaks at Rajya Sabha in New Delhi | ANI Photo
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New Delhi: For V. Gopalaswamy or Vaiko, the Centre’s move to scrap Article 370 is a betrayal of Shakespearean proportions — but the main culprit is not the Bharatiya Janata Party, it is the Congress.

Opposing the government’s move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, MDMK founder Vaiko launched an offensive against the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha Monday for “betraying the people of Kashmir”.

He began his fiery speech by saying: “Today is a day of sorrow because we have not kept our promise.”

Bringing forth the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, he said, “When Pakistani troops entered the terrain of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh had sent an emissary to Jawaharlal Nehru and the annexation was signed.” He also quoted a letter written by Nehru offering to hold a plebiscite to determine the views of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Vaiko spoke how Sheikh Abdullah, “the great Muslim leader of the Valley”, had decided to go with India under one condition: “The individuality and originality of the state of Jammu and Kashmir would not be compromised.”

Also read: What Nehru wrote to Sardar Patel on Kashmir & its ‘oblivious’ Hindu Maharaja

Attacking Congress’ totalitarianism

Vaiko’s speech soon moved on to attack the Congress for “exploiting” the state over decades of the party’s rule.

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“How was Abdullah rewarded by the Congress? By putting him behind bars in Tamil Nadu’s Kodaikanal prison. Then what happened? M.C. Chagla, as ambassador of India to the United Nations in 1964, declared that the plebiscite had taken place. But a fraud was committed by the Congress. I respect Nehru’s books The Discovery of India and Glimpses of World History. But his promise of plebiscite was not kept,” said the Tamil Nadu politician.

Vaiko also recalled what Sheikh Abdullah had told him when he went to meet the latter at Kodaikanal prison: “My young friend from Tamil Nadu, there is no place in the Congress party either for friendship or gratitude.”

He accused the Congress of killing democracy all these years.

“Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah came to know that his government was dismissed when he was having his morning cup of tea. Now, when Puducherry is claiming statehood, you are equating it with the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.”

He went on to quote the famous line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth — “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand” — to comment: “This is what has happened today. The Congress had removed all special powers from the state.

“The promises of statehood — a separate state, constituent assembly, constitution, flag and a prime minister — were assured by the Congress party. Not by Jana Sangh or the BJP. It is you (Congress) who had promised them. You broke this promise by toppling the state’s governments frequently. You played with the sentiments of its people.

“Kashmir should not become a Kosovo or south Sudan,” he said, while referring to more troops being deployed in the state.

Also read: Modi’s Kashmir move is biggest test for Indian democracy – and for the silent liberals

‘Trump, a clever jackal’

Vaiko also said that the Centre’s action will be “internationalised by the United Nations”.

“There are countries opposed to us. They will use this card. United Nations Human Rights Council will definitely interfere and Donald Trump is playing his cards very carefully. He is a clever jackal,” said the legislator.

He concluded his speech by saying “This bill should be thrown out. Rejected. Lock, stock and barrel. But the main culprit is the Congress party…There is a fire burning in the hearts of Kashmiris. This is a day of shame, a murder of democracy.”

Also read: Explained: This is what Modi govt has done to scrap Article 370, 35A in Jammu & Kashmir


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