‘Azaadi’ not possible in Kashmir: Soz

NEW DELHI, June 25:

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz today said that ‘azaadi’ is not possible in Kashmir and the only way forward is for all stakeholders to sit together and hold a vigorous dialogue to solve the problem.
Soz also blamed the media for “twisting” his statement on supporting Pervez Musharraf’s proposal for giving autonomy to Kashmiris, which had invited sharp criticism from the BJP though the Congress had distanced itself from his comments.
The Congress had termed his remarks as a “cheap gimmick” to promote his book, which was released today.
He, however, said that Vallabhbhai Patel was ready to give Kashmir to Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, as he was a pragmatic man and wanted to avoid a war with the neighbouring country.
He claimed that it was Lord Mountbatten and not Jawaharlal Nehru who took the Kashmir issue to the United Nations.
“Azaadi is not possible, but the Constitution of India should accommodate Kashmir,” he said, adding that even Musharraf had told his generals and wanted autonomy on both sides of Kashmir.
“Shedding blood will not solve the Kashmir problem… You can go on killing Kashmiris. Kill them…But the problem will not be resolved,” he said, asking “Did the Taliban get killed”.
He was speaking at the launch of his book – “Kashmir-Glimpses of history and the story of struggle”, where no Congress leader was present except former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.
While former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was invited for the book launch did not turn up, former Finance and Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was to launch the book and hold a discussion on the Kashmir issue, also skipped the event after the Congress snubbed Soz for his remarks.
Soz, however, repeatedly said at the book launch that it was his book and his party was not responsible for it. (PTI)