Is Kashmir a part of India ?, asks SP's Azam, Cong, BJP fume

At a public meeting in Badaun, about 250 km from here, last night, Khan said that Ghulam Nabi Azad is the lone Muslim cabinet minister in the UPA government but he is a "Kashmiri."

"Only one Muslim minister(Azad) is there in the (Union) Cabinet and that too not of India, but from Kashmir. That Kashmir, which is still controversial and we don't know whether that is part of India or not...," Khan said in remarks that could embarass the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Khan made a reference to Azad while hitting out at the Congress for not being serious about the interests of minorities citing that the UPA government had only one Muslim in the cabinet.

The Congress condemned Khan's remarks as "most unfortunate" while BJP dubbed them as "irresponsible." There was also a demand that Khan be booked on charges of treason.

"There is a practice of issuing irresponsible statements to remain in news and Azam Khan's statement in Badaun that Ghulam Nabi Azad is not from India but from Kashmir which is not clear whether it is in India or Pakistan is another such example," BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak told PTI.

Earlier it was Congress leader, Digvijay Singh who made a controversial statment harming national interest and now it is Azam Khan who is doing the same and a treason case should be filed against him, Pathak said.

Congress spokesman Subodh Srivasatava while terming the statement as most unfortunate both for the SP and Khan said that the former would have to think whether it has done the right thing by taking him back in the party.

"It is most unfortunate that leaders such as Khan are in the forefront of Muslim politics and the SP would have to think whether it has done the right thing in taking him back ", Srivasatav said adding that they should introspect whether such statments are in the interest of the nation or not.

Moreover, Khan's statement is also wrong factually as there are several Muslim leaders in the UPA government other than Ghulam Nabi Azad, Srivastava added.

Defending Khan, Samajwadi Party spokesman, Rajendra Chaudhary said the statement should be understood in the context it was issued.

"Khan spoke with regard to the problem of Kashmir which is the outcome of Congress policies and it should not be read out of context", Chaudhary said adding that there should not be any doubt in anyone's mind over Khan's patriotism.

Azam Khan is known for his critical political statements in the past and had even landed in a problem for his remarks on the Ambedkar Memorial in Lucknow and calling Bharat Mata as 'demon'.

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