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To retrieve Pak-occupied Kashmir very much on government’s agenda: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

To retrieve Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and make it a part of India is very much on the government’s agenda, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday. In a meeting with London-based Jammu and Kashmir-origin students and social groups, he said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over, he sought to “correct several anomalies of the past that were the legacy of successive governments since 1947”.

Singh, who is on an official visit to the UK, said the abrogation of Article 370 has created a sense of belonging among the people of Jammu and Kashmir and given them equal rights vis-a-vis their counterparts in the rest of the country.

In 2019, the central government had abrogated the article, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Prime Minister Modi will be remembered for having brought “justice to refugees from Pakistan settled in Jammu and Kashmir and to the daughters of Jammu and Kashmir who were deprived of their constitutional rights of citizenship and owning property”, the minister of state for personnel said referring to the government’s 2019 decision.

He said as a result of the corrective measures adopted by Prime Minister Modi, India’s stature has risen globally, and there is no ambiguity left as far as India’s position about Jammu and Kashmir is concerned which is, it is an integral part of the Indian Union.

“If only the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had allowed the then home minister Sardar Patel to handle Jammu and Kashmir in the same manner he was handling other princely states of India, today the part of Jammu and Kashmir that is illegally occupied by Pakistan would have been a part of India and the issue of PoJK would have never have risen,” the minister said, according to an official statement issued here.

“However, he said, it is very much on the agenda of the government led by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP as a political party to retrieve the illegally occupied PoJK from the control of Pakistan and restore it back to India,” it said. Different groups that interacted with Singh told him about the recent activities conducted by them to unite groups of people of Indian origin against anti-India forces, the statement said.

The minister told them that time has come to create “our own narrative so that false narratives created by our adversaries do not gain upper hand”.

Under Prime Minister Modi, the world is ready to listen to India’s viewpoint and the message that nobody can challenge or harm the integrity and sovereignty of India should go loud and clear across all sections, he said.

The meeting, which lasted for nearly an hour, consisted of people engaged in different areas of work and hailing from different regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

Present in the meeting were also representatives of the Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre branch in London who have their main office in New Delhi. There were also members of Dogra organisations of Jammu and Kashmir and members of Kashmiri Pandit activist groups, the statement said.

Singh appreciated the manner in which they had contributed in correcting the negative narrative about India, particularly in the context of Jammu and Kashmir, by certain “vested interests” and had also stood up to the challenge of anti-India forces in the UK, the statement added.

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