New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Terming it a “cheap gimmick” to sell a book, Congress on Friday rejected party leader Saifuddin Soz’s claim that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was right in saying Kashmiris will prefer to be independent, saying Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an “integral part of India”.
Telling reporters that he had seen Soz’s statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “I have not seen the contents of the book but let me say if the contents as reported are correct, Congress Party and every rightful citizen of India rejects such content as a gimmick to sell a book that is yet to come into the market.”
“This is incontrovertible, unquestionable truth that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and will always remain so.
“Many people will make many statements either to sell books or to gain cheap publicity through friends in the media,” he added.
The former Union Minister in his forthcoming book “Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle” claimed that Gen Musharraf’s assessment that Kashmiris will “prefer to be independent” if they are given a chance to “exercise their free will” seems to be “correct even today”.
“He (Musharraf) had also convinced his colleagues that the resolutions of the UN on Kashmir had constituted a redundant situation as these meant a tight-jacket for Kashmiris whether they wanted to go with India or to Pakistan.
“Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent,” Soz wrote in the book as reported by The Indian Express.
Surjewala also sought that the agenda not be diverted “based on a stray statement made by some individual which we reject in toto” and that the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit will take appropriate action on the issue.