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PMO Minister Jitendra Speaks Out on Kashmir, or JNU?

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh on Monday openly said something uncalled for, which reiterates the view that many in Modi’s cabinet lacked intellectual capacity to match JNU students and teachers in terms of debates and skills of good governance, leave alone opinion making.

He said JNU students should express remorse and "repentance over the loss of Indian soldiers" before agitating and questioning India’s integrity. India has been waging war and fighting Pakistan’s propaganda war for six decades defending Kashmir and at one stroke, the minister mitigates the entire battle to JNU students’ slogans.

Speaking after the tragic incident of an encounter in which several Indian soldiers had lost their lives, Jitendra Singh said, "For how long these serial losses of soldiers will go on? How long will this serial loss of young patriots, who are so precious to any country, go on?"

Unfortunate but the minister should know that Kashmir is not an army-only issue. It is much larger than that and will not end with JNU students expressing remorse. The issue is multi-faceted.

He further said: "Is there any realization or remorse or repentance on the part of those who are out on streets, agitating and protesting for what they describe as right to question, very existence of mother India and its integrity?" Yes, but the minister should not have tagged this with JNU students, belittling the larger issue at hand.

"Do they ever realize that they are alive and are in a position to speak in this tone because Tushar, Pawan and other youngsters are laying down their lives to ensure that some of the others stay alive to put a question mark on mother India?" the minister said but this leads to inciting ill-feeling among the jawans against JNU students, while a section of them were only to be blamed, whose identity is not established. The best way is not to recite the word JNU for sometime. Invoking JNU incident every time on Kashmir will only weaken our 7-decade-old stand on Kashmir.

Perhaps, JNU professors should take lessons for MPs and ministers on how we should speak in one voice on Pakistan and how we should not deviate from the main plank to showcase smaller events. One mistake by Delhi Police has evoked many sarcastic smiles from acoss the border.

First and foremost, ministers should not refer or cite JNU in public as "Others" will also do the same next time. Secondly, the MPs and ministers should be enlightened on defending the issue of Kashmir based on India’s historic stand and other plus points, not showing encounters. Like Jawans, many JNU students have gone to serve as diplomats and defended Kashmir at the UN and at every international forum and one of them even sacrificed his life at Kabul mission in July 2008..

If you can’t motivate army jawans positively, at least desist from demotivating and spreading hatred in their minds. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should advise his ministers not to dilute the bigger Kashmir issue to deal with minor hiccups within. Perhaps he can send his cabinet colleagues, in cognito, to attend public debates in JNU to know both sides of the coin.

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