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Freedom for Kashmir not possible: Soz

Book talk: Saifuddin Soz with former diplomat M.K. Rasgotra in New Delhi on Monday.

Book talk: Saifuddin Soz with former diplomat M.K. Rasgotra in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Chidambaram withdraws from book launch at last moment, Manmohan Singh too keeps away

An independent Kashmir is not possible, Congress leader Saifuddin Soz said here on Monday. Excerpts from his book had triggered a political storm catching the Congress by surprise with BJP president Amit Shah demanding an apology from party president Rahul Gandhi.

“Amit Shah says India will keep Kashmir despite people like Soz. This is a white lie. Azadi is not possible,” he said at the launch of the book Kashmir: Glimpses of History and Story of Struggle.

Unofficial boycott

In an unofficial boycott, at the very last moment, former Home Minister P. Chidambaram withdrew himself from the panel that was to debate the book after the launch. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who too was invited, decided to give the event a miss. Barring senior leader Jairam Ramesh, no one else from the Congress was present.

The Congress last week had taken a stern view even threatening action against him.

“This is my book. I am responsible for it. My party has nothing to do with it. I have narrated facts,” he said.

The Congress was riled by his criticism of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. However, Mr. Soz clarified that it was Nehru who always stood by Kashmir. “Nehru never wanted to give away Kashmir. It was in fact Mr. Sardar Patel who during negotiations told Liaqat Ali ‘don't talk about Hyderabad, talk of Kashmir’. He was adamant on keeping Hyderabad for India and willing to give Kashmir to Pakistan,” he said.

Mr. Soz appealed for a “rigorous dialogue” between the people of Kashmir and the Government of India.

The book elaborates on what he calls the “Musharraf-Vajpayee-Manmohan” formula of autonomy, demilitarisation and free movement across borders.

Two comments made in his book that hit the headlines were that the Hurriyat is an essential party to the talks and Kashmiris even today would vote for azadi.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:25:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/freedom-for-kashmir-not-possible-soz/article24255602.ece

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