NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday made it clear in the Lok Sabha that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of the state which, he said, are integral part of the country and that the government leaders were ready to sacrifice their lives for the state.
He also dared the Congress to make its stand clear on the Kashmir issue. After moving the resolution and Bills in the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing, Shah said the issue was not political and that the legislation was based on constitutional and legal provisions.
While the resolution pertains to a Presidential order to revoke special status given to Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 provides for bifurcating the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with legislature similar to Puducherry, and Ladakh without one like Chandigarh.
The Presidential order has repealed the provisions under Article 370 that allows the state to have its own Constitution and power to make laws other than those related to foreign affairs, defence and communications.
The resolutions and the Bills have been already passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Home Minister said there has been a long-standing demand for giving Union Territory status to Ladakh which was fulfilled by the Narendra Modi government.
"Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. Whenever I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it and we can die for it," Shah said responding to a query of leader of Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary.
Dismissing opposition's charge that introduction of the Bill and the resolution were a violation of the rights of the people, Shah said nobody can stop him from introducing a resolution on Kashmir in Parliament.
"The borders of Jammu and Kashmir, as decided by the Constitution of India as well as the constitution of the state, include PoK and Aksai Chin," Shah said. He reiterated that his mention of Jammu and Kashmir has always included PoK and Aksai Chin, which are currently under the control of Pakistan and China, respectively.
Earlier, Chowdhary interrupted Shah's address to question the government's stand on PoK. "I don't think you are thinking about PoK, you violated all rules and converted a state into a Union Territory overnight," he said. Chowdhary asked whether Jammu and Kashmir is still an internal matter after the government's decision to split the state in two Union Territories.
"S. Jaishankar (External Affairs Minister) told Mike Pompeo (US Secretary of State) a few days before that Kashmir is a bilateral matter, so don't interfere in it. Can J&K still be an internal matter? We want to know. Entire Congress party wants to be enlightened by you," he said.
Responding to this, Shah questioned if Congress is suggesting the UN to intervene in solving the Kashmir issue.
"This country's Parliament cannot be stopped from making any law on J&K. Does Congress want the UN to resolve Kashmir?" Shah asked amid chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram' in the Lok Sabha.
"Kashmir issue was raised in UN in 1948... Later former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did Shimla Agreement... This is not political matter. Jammu and Kashmir is integral part of India and there are no legal or legislative differences over it," said Shah.
"It is also mentioned in the Constitution of India... Jammu and Kashmir has also accepted it... so, Parliament is competent in making law for J&K. No one can stop us from making a law," Shah said.
Interrupting, DMK's TR Baalu said: "I think we are in the state of undeclared emergency probably because it is not clear whether our member colleague Farooq Abdullah and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is under house arrest or he has been arrested".
The Minister then said Article 370 (3) was used by the President to cease the operation of Article 370 and clarified as far as the bifurcation of the state is concerned, it was the demand of Ladakh for creating "equity" in the region.
"In view of Ladakh's demand, we are bifurcating J&k into two UTs. One UT will be Ladakh with Aksai Chin. The two Hill Councils of Ladakh will continue and its President will be given Minister rank to function the administration. The Hill members will be given the right to raise their voice. Nobody's legislative right will be affected with the move," he said.
"As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, there will be another UT with an Assembly. There will be MLAs as well as Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. And the Chief Minister will be elected by the people. The Chief Minister will manage day-to-day work of the UT," Shah said.
The Minister later appealed to the members to discuss the issue, saying it is being watched by the people in the Valley, across the country as well as in foreign countries.