NEW DELHI: Senior Indian lawyer Harish Salve on Wednesday endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s decision to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 as a means of correcting a “mistake”.
He described Pakistan’s reaction to the move as a sign of “complete bankruptcy” because Kashmir is an integral part of India where they were “squatting”.
Tensions between the two countries have spiked since India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian ambassador.
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue, but New Delhi has asserted the move was its “internal matter”. Salve said, “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is Indian, they (Pakistan) are squatting there. If there is any disputed territory (in the region), it is PoK.
The Kashmir Constitution says Kashmir is an integral part of India, not just the Indian Constitution. Kashmir being an integral part of India has never been in doubt, except in certain Pakistani minds.” Describing himself as a “long-time votary” of getting rid of Article 370, the senior lawyer noted: “I think it was a mistake to allow it and a bigger mistake to allow it to fester. Some time you had to cut the Gordian Knot and the government has done it. The only way it could have been done is by one shot.
“The suggestion that it should have been a discussion is nonsense because even the slightest mention of 370 would evoke very trenchant and militant criticism. India has done the right thing.” In reference to the legal challenge over the issue, he added: “The Supreme Court of India will hear and decide if there was anything wrong. But the way it has been portrayed by Pakistan shows their complete bankruptcy of the mind.”