New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill.
The House passed the two bills after more than six hours of debate spanning over two days and a spirited reply by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who blamed India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's “two major blunders” for the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill seeks to nominate two members from the Kashmiri migrant community and one representing the displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to the Legislative Assembly. The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill seeks to change the nomenclature of a section of people who are eligible for quotas in appointments and admissions.
During the debate on the two bills, Shah blamed India's first Prime Minister for declaring a ceasefire without winning the entire Kashmir and taking the issue to the United Nations.
The Union home minister said that if Nehru had taken the right steps, a large chunk of territory would not have been ceded and PoK would have been part of India.
Shah said: "I support the word that was used here -- Nehruvian blunder. Because of the blunder that was committed during the time of Nehru, Kashmir had to suffer. With responsibility, I want to say that the two big blunders that happened during the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru, happened due to his decisions, because of which Kashmir had to suffer for years."
“Kashmir had to suffer due to 'Nehruvian blunders'. One was that when our Army was winning and as soon as the Punjab area was reached, a ceasefire was declared and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was born. If the ceasefire had been (declared) three days later, PoK would have been part of India."
He noted that the ceasefire without winning the entire Kashmir was one "blunder" and the other was taking the issue to the UN.
There was an uproar by the Opposition benches over the remarks on the former Prime Minister. They staged a walkout but returned later.
After the Opposition walkout, BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said that the home minister should also talk about the "Himalayan blunder", a reference to Nehru's actions leading up to the war with China in 1962.
Shah quipped that his mention of two blunders upset the Opposition benches, adding that if he had used the phrase Himalayan blunder, they would have resigned.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that the remarks made were not an insult to anyone and were only made to put things in context.
In his remarks, Shah also alleged that the Kashmir matter was taken to the UN in a hurry.
"If at all it had to be taken to the UN, it should have been sent under Article 51 rather than Article 35 of the UN Charter," he said, asserting that he of course believes that the issue should not have been taken to the UN in the first place.
Shah also quoted Nehru as saying later that the ceasefire was a "mistake".
“It was not Nehru's mistake but a blunder. So much land of this country was lost, it was a historic blunder," he said.
Talking about the abrogation of Article 370, the minister said that it had nothing to do with going back on promise as it was a temporary article and had to go.
"You did not have the courage; Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed courage and did away with it," he said, referring to the Opposition benches.
Shah pointed out that the two bills on Jammu and Kashmir seek to nominate two Kashmiri migrant community members, including a woman, to the Assembly.
“One seat in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will be set aside for people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” he said.
Shah mentioned that more than 45,000 people have lost their lives due to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir so far.
He informed the Lok Sabha that the government's focus is on ending the terror ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir. The zero terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir plan has been in force for three years and will be successful by 2026.
"I believe the Modi government will return to power in 2024 and by 2026, I hope there will be no terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir," Mr Shah said.
The minister further pointed out that the two bills will give justice to those deprived of their rights for the last 70 years and asserted that reservation for the displaced people will give them a voice in the Legislature.
Mentioning that had terrorism has been tackled at the beginning without considering vote-bank politics, Kashmiri Pandits would not have left the Kashmir Valley, he said that one of the bills seeks to give representation in the Assembly to those who had to leave Kashmir due to terrorism.
Shah also lashed out at the Congress for talking about backward classes, saying that if any party has harmed backward classes and come in the way of their growth, it is the Congress.