New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh on Friday hit back at party colleague Jairam Ramesh for criticising his recent article on Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India and said the “unsavoury remarks” regarding his father were “unacceptable”.
In a statement, Singh said he had hoped his views will be taken in the spirit in which he wrote them rather than become a subject of “snide remarks”.
Ramesh on Thursday had criticised Singh for “sidestepping” Union minister Kiren Rijuju’s “hit job” on Jawaharlal Nehru’s role in Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India.
The Congress general secretary’s remarks had come over an article by Singh on Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India in an English daily in which Ramesh said he had defended his father and erstwhile ruler Hari Singh.
Reacting to Ramesh’s remarks, Singh said, “I notice that the irrepressible Jairam Ramesh has thought it fit to make a statement on my article in the Hindustan Times yesterday. He has made two points, both of which are unacceptable. He starts by alleging that in some way my article was against Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This is absolutely preposterous.”
“Pandit ji was my mentor ever since I entered public life at the age of 18 and I will always hold him in the highest regard. To suggest otherwise is outrageous,” said the former ‘Sadr-i-Riyasat’ of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh pointed out that he had dedicated his latest book “An Examined Life” to Nehru and in his article he made it clear that he was not dealing with the multiple allegations made against India’s first prime minister by Rijiju.
He said Rijiju’s allegations were a separate matter and needed a much more detailed refutation on which “Ramesh should be working”.
Singh said his article in the English daily was specifically directed towards explaining the role of his father in the whole accession process.
“Jairam goes on to make some unsavoury remarks regarding my father. His reading of history is evidently selective. He could go to the book by Prem Shankar Jha and other books on Jammu & Kashmir to get a different view point,” the former Union minister and ex-governor of J&K said.
“I am one of the last living eye witnesses to the events preceding and following the signing of the Instrument of Accession which I have related in some detail in my autobiography,” Singh said.
Reacting to Singh’s article earlier, Ramesh had said on Twitter, “There is not a single scholarly and serious work on J&K that portrays Maharaja Hari Singh in good light.”
“Even this authoritative work by VP Menon doesn’t make Hari Singh a wronged man. It is hence 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 though is that Dr.Karan Singh has sidestepped Rijuju’s hit job on Nehru…,” the Congress general secretary in-charge communications had said.
Jammu and Kashmir’s accession came into the focus as it was at the centre of the war of words between the BJP and the Congress last week. Rijiju wrote an article for a portal citing “five Nehruvian blunders”, including floating the idea of a plebiscite and terming Jammu and Kashmir’s accession provisional.
The minister had said it was important to realise past mistakes to build a new future and added he has not tweaked history but stated facts to set the record straight.
The Congress had demanded an apology from Rijiju over his criticism of Nehru’s handling of the Kashmir issue and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rein in ministers from making “irresponsible statements”.