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Vajpayee in a hurry to 'divest' J&K to Americans: Bhim Singh

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
September 08, 2003 19:20 IST
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Criticising the joint military exercises with the US Army in Ladakh, Bhim Singh, president of All India Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party, accused the Vajpayee government of being in a hurry to 'divest' Jammu and Kashmir to the Americans.

Addressing the press in New Delhi on Monday, Singh, who is a partner in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed-led J&K government, accused Sayeed of colluding with the Centre on the issue of joint exercises.

"Never before in the history of India the Americans have been allowed this kind of access to a crucial state like Jammu and Kashmir. Who knows how many of the officers who are participating in the joint exercises would pass on information to their friends in the ISI in Pakistan," he said.

Asked why doesn't he pull out his ministers from the state government if it was 'colluding' with the Centre, he shot back: "Why should I ask my ministers to resign? Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray criticises the (central) government on many important issues and yet his ministers continue to be part of the NDA government. I sincerely believe the Vajpayee government is in a hurry to divest the state of Jammu and Kashmir to the Americans."

He attacked the Union government for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India.

"We have been traditional friends of Palestine. When the UN resolution was passed in 1947 to create the state of Israel after dividing the then Palestine, India had opposed the motion. Ariel Sharon was responsible for massacre of thousands of Arab in 1967 when he was a brigadier in the Israel Army. He is the one who did not let the Oslo accord to be implemented. We should stand by our traditional friend Yasaer Arafat," he said.

Describing the split in the All Party Hurriyat Conference as a 'welcome step', he said, "This would allow the moderate elements within the APHC to hold talks with the Union government and pave a way for finding a permanent solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir."

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi