The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday rejected the report of the Prime Minister’s Working Group, which has recommended autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was an “improperly prepared” document intended to convey the government’s willingness to “dilute” its position on the State.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who was a member of the Working Group, said the Centre should not act on the report on the “sensitive political issue” having bearing on national sovereignty as it was not based on consensus but “unilaterally authored.”
He said the last meeting of the 21-member Working Group, headed by former Supreme Court Judge Justice Saghir Ahmed and including leaders of political parties, was held on September 3, 2007 and the Group was virtually abandoned since then.
“What was the compulsion to bypass the Working Group and produce the report? It is surprising that this Group has come out with the report on various important and sensitive issues,” Mr. Jaitley said.
He contended that it was “improper for a retired judge to have drafted a report on sensitive political subjects impinging on national sovereignty, that too two years after the last meeting of the Group without bothering to discuss it with any member” of the committee.
“I have an uneasy feeling that the government wants to show to some sections of the international community that it is willing to dilute the Indian position on Jammu and Kashmir. Is this report showcased for that purpose?”
Arguing that a “judge by training is not competent” to comment on sensitive political issues, he said a judge “can only adjudicate issues that are judicially determinable” and that “it is an improper practice to drag judges into the political thicket.”
In the Group comprising representatives of the Congress, the BJP, the National Conference, the PDP, the Panthers Party and groups of various Kashmiri Pandits, “no consensus could ever be possible,” Mr. Jaitley said.