CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, BJP’s Jay Panda to debate Article 370 at Oxford Union

Published - October 29, 2019 05:37 am IST - New Delhi

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File

The Oxford Union Society will debate “Jammu & Kashmir: Should Special Status Have Been Revoked” this Wednesday with CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury speaking opposing the motion and BJP leader Baijayant Jay Panda arguing in favour.

The Oxford Union, on their website listing the event has framed the debate on India’s decision as “simply a misunderstood step towards greater national unity and prosperity or an alarming act of authoritarian overreach?”

Mr. Yechury was the only Indian politician who managed to enter Kashmir during its more than 60-day shutdown. He tried entering the State twice. Once, with other Left party colleagues and again as part of the joint delegation of Opposition leaders. On both occasions the politicians were turned away

It was only after he filed a habeas corpus petition to meet his party colleague Yousuf Tarigami who like other Kashmir politicians was placed under house arrest that he could enter the State on the directions of the apex court. In an affidavit that Mr. Yechury filed in the Supreme Court, he said the situation in the State is contrary to the government claims describing at length the increased presence of security personnel and how his own meeting with Mr. Tarigami was strictly monitored by security officials.

The last outing of an Indian politician at the Oxford Union was Salman Kurshid speaking in favour of partition of the Indian sub-continent.

In 2015, Shashi Tharoor’s speech on the topic “Britain owes reparations to her former colonies” at the same platform went viral and is still one of the top three debates held at the society in recent years.

The Oxford Union Society, is a debating group based at the city of Oxford, England. It exists independently from the university. It was founded in 1823 and is one of the oldest debating societies in England and possibly the world. In the past, U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, Sir Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Malcolm X, Malala Yousafzai and Imran Khan have spoken there.

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