Pakistan refugees issue: Separatists, NC doing politics of convenience, says Jitendra Singh
He said it is "inhuman" to resist any help to refugees who have been languishing without any livelihood for past 70 years.
Jammu: Slamming separatists and National Conference over their stand on West Pakistan refugees issue, Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said while separatists are doing politics of "convenience not conviction", the mainstream parties too toe their line when out of power.
Terming the opposition to the issuance of identity cards to West Pakistan refugees (WPRs) as a "needless controversy", he said it is "inhuman" to resist any help to refugees who have been languishing without any livelihood for past 70 years.
He said that refugees who chose J-K as their home cannot be held to ransom, "while some their counterparts in rest of the country have become Prime Ministers like Inder Kumar Gujral and Dr Manmohan Singh".
Accusing separatists and NC of "politicking" on the issue, he said, "Separatists lobby of Kashmir are separatists due to their convenience and not because of conviction."
"Similarly the so-called mainstream politicians tend to take the separatist line because the moment they take to power they swear that J&K is integral part of India and when they are shunted out of power, they overnight start questioning the status of Jammu and Kashmir," Singh told reporters here.
The Minister of State in PMO was replying to questions about opposition by the separatists and National Conference to issuance of identity certificates to WPRs.
"This is politicking which is happening by some who are devoid of conviction and ideology.
"It is the duplicity of these elements to hoodwink the innocent masses of Jammu and Kashmir but the saving grace is that youth of the state is wiser than before," Union Minister said.
Singh, while replying to other questions on the issue, said, "It is meaningless controversy. It is avoidable controversy".
"They (refugees) can not be held to ransom for the simple reason that they chose their residence in Jammu or Jammu and Kashmir after partition.
"Therefore the nation owes a dignified livelihood to them. This politicking which has just started for past two days is primarily motivated by considerations of Kashmir- centric constituencies," he said.
Singh said it is time for all, regardless of political affiliations and ideologies, to take a holistic view regarding the issue.
He said those raising their voice against the step include many who failed to address the issue despite being in power during the last seven decades.
"This set of activists are unable to digest it," he said.
While separatists have alleged that the move is aimed at changing the demography of the state, the NC claimed that the step will dilute Article 370 on special status to Jammu and Kashmir.