Friday, 6 December 2019

Kamal Haasan demands a referendum in Kashmir

BOLLYWOOD: As India seethes over the dastardly terror attack in Pulwama that claimed the lives of at least 40 CRPF soldiers, the actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has questioned the Indian government over its reluctance to hold a referendum/plebiscite in the strife-torn Kashmir.

“Why isn’t the Indian government holding a referendum in Kashmir? Who is it they are afraid of? If leaders of both countries (India and Pakistan) behave properly, then there will be no reason for the death of our soldiers, the line of control will be under control,” the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief is reported to have said.

Haasan also referred to Pakistan-administered-Kashmir as ‘Azad Kashmir’.

“The government should talk to the people of Kashmir and determine their views by holding a plebiscite. Do they want to divide all the nations? Why do not you ask them again? Will not they do that? Now, this (Kashmir) belongs to India, the same situation remains across the border. In ‘Azad Kashmir’, people are using pictures of jihadis in trains to depict them as heroes, it is not a good thing,” he added.

The veteran Tamil actor also emphasized that the concept of having an armed force is an ‘old-fashioned’ one.

“Why are our soldiers losing their lives in Kashmir? I feel regret when people say that soldiers are going to Kashmir to lay down their lives. The army itself is an old fashioned thing. Similar to how we decided that we will not kill each other, likewise a time will come when we will stop fighting. Has not the civil society learnt that in the past 10 years? Stop fighting with Pakistan. The soldiers who are protecting us should not die,” he said.

Haasan launched MNM in February 2018 and is likely to contest the general elections in 2019.

Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group backed and aided by Pakistan, had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, which was carried out by a local Kashmiri youth who drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy.

His comments sparked off furore on social media, following which his party MNM has, issued a statement claiming Haasan’s words were twisted by a news channel. “We firmly believe that entire Kashmir is an integral part of India and we stand firmly with our armed forces, para-military and central police forces who defend it selflessly,” the party said in a statement.

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