Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh hit back at fellow party member Jairam Ramesh on Friday for criticizing his recent article on Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, saying the “unsavory comments” about his father were “unacceptable”.
In a statement, Singh said he had hoped his views would be taken in the spirit in which he wrote them, rather than becoming the subject of “snide comments”.
Ramesh on Thursday criticized Singh for “circumventing” Union minister Kiren Rijuju’s “hit job” over Jawaharlal Nehru’s role in Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India.
The congressional general secretary’s comments had appeared in an English daily newspaper article by Singh on Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, in which Ramesh said he had defended his father and former ruler Hari Singh.
Commenting on Ramesh’s comments, Singh said: “I notice that the unstoppable Jairam Ramesh has found it appropriate to make a statement about my article in the Hindustan Times yesterday. He has raised two points, both of which are unacceptable. He starts by claiming that my article was somehow against Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This is absolutely ridiculous.”
“Pandit ji has been my mentor since I came into public life at the age of 18 and I will always hold him in high esteem. To suggest otherwise is outrageous,” said the former Sadr-i-Riyasat of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh pointed out that he dedicated his latest book “An Examined Life” to Nehru and in his article made it clear that he was not dealing with the multiple accusations that Rijiju had leveled against India’s first prime minister.
He said Rijiju’s allegations were a separate matter and needed a much more detailed rebuttal that “Ramesh should work on.”
Singh said his article in the English newspaper focused specifically on explaining his father’s role in the entire accession process.
Jairam goes on to make some unsavory remarks about my father. His reading of history is clearly selective. He could go to Prem Shankar Jha’s book and other books on Jammu & Kashmir to get a different point of view,” said the former Union minister and ex-Governor of J&K.
“I am one of the last living eyewitnesses to the events leading up to and following the signing of the Act of Accession, which I have described in detail in my autobiography,” Singh said.
Commenting on Singh’s earlier article, Ramesh had said on Twitter: “There is no scientific and serious work about J&K that portrays Maharaja Hari Singh in a good light.” “Even this authoritative work by VP Menon does not make Hari Singh an unjust man. It is therefore natural that his son Dr. Karan Singh defends him in the HT today,” Ramesh had said, sharing the screenshot of the cover of a book by Menon.
“What I find surprising, however, is that Dr. Karan Singh evaded Rijuju’s job on Nehru…,” the congressional secretary-general, responsible for communications, had said.
Jammu and Kashmir’s accession has come to the fore as it has been at the center of the battle of words between the BJP and the Congress last week. Rijiju wrote an article for a portal citing “five Nehruvian blunders”, including the idea of a plebiscite and the provisional accession of Jammu and Kashmir.
The minister had said it was important to realize mistakes of the past in order to build a new future and added that he has not modified history but stated facts to set the record straight.
Congress had demanded an apology from Rijiju for criticizing Nehru’s handling of the Kashmir issue and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb ministers from making “irresponsible statements”.
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