No question of mediation on Kashmir: Rajnath in LS
Congress demands PM’s statement; protests, walks out
New Delhi, Jul 24 (PTI) There was no discussion on Kashmir in the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan recently and there is no question of any mediation on the issue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Amid a walkout of proceedings by the opposition which has been demanding a statement from the prime minister since Tuesday, Singh said in the House that mediation on the Kashmir issue is also ruled out as it is a question of national pride for India.
“There was no discussion on Kashmir during the meeting between the Prime Minister and US President Trump in June. There is no question of any mediation on Kashmir issue,” he said
Singh also asserted that when India talks to Pakistan, it will not be limited to the issue of Kashmir, but also include Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK).
US President Trump had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir.
The defence minister said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was present at the Trump-Modi meeting held on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Osaka and his statement is the “most authentic” on the issue.
The external affairs minister had already made a statement in both houses of Parliament on Tuesday, making it clear that the prime minister had made no such request to the US President.
Earlier, during Question Hour, the Congress, DMK and a few other parties came to the well demanding presence of Modi in the House and a statement from him.
They were continuously engaged in sloganeering, trying to disrupt the proceeding of the House.
When the Zero Hour began, Speaker Om Birla allowed Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to speak and also asked him to stay put in the House when the government will reply to his statement.
Chowdhury said the entire country was confused following the statement of President Trump and it would be appropriate to hear from the “horse’s mouth”, the prime minister, to make the issue clear as it was a matter between him (Modi) and Trump.
“What is wrong if we are seeking a statement from the horse’s mouth. The prime minister must come to the House and make a statement,” he said.
However, when deputy leader of Lok Sabha and the defence minister rose to make a statement, the Congress, DMK and other members staged a walk out in protest.
Singh said the opposition had promised to listen to the government, but by walking out, they have “broken their promise”.
Earlier during Question Hour, as the uproar continued, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that while no doubt about the issue is left since the External Affairs Minister has already given a statement, the defence minister would respond during Zero Hour as the Opposition has again raised the matter.
However, protesting members were not convinced and continued with their sloganeering. They were heard shouting slogans like ‘Prime Minister jawab do jawab do’ (Prime Minister should answer).
On Tuesday also, the Opposition had sought a response from the prime minister on the issue.