Union minister and former Indian Army chief VK Singh on Tuesday claimed that the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK would merge with India on its own. Singh was responding to a question on the demands of Shia Muslims who have been seeking the opening of the Kargil border crossing with India.
“PoK will merge with India on its own, wait for some time,” Singh said at a press conference in Rajasthan’s Dausa during Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Parivartan Sankalp Yatra programme.
PoK has been divided into two parts — Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. PoK has a total population of around 4.5 million, according to BBC. Of them, 97 per cent are Muslims, 3 per cent are from other minorities, including Hindus and Christians.
Responding to Singh’s comments, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said if the PoK merges with India, the decision will be welcomed.
“We have always dreamed that there be an ‘Akhand Bharat’. We always say that PoK is ours. But when the former Army chief was holding the post, he should have tried then to make it ours. How can you do it now?” Raut told reporters.
Raut took a jibe at the central government for the ongoing Manipur violence. He said, “We will welcome it if any effort is made towards that but before that, make Manipur peaceful.”
He added that China had reached Manipur, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh and asked the government to stop this first.
Raut said China had reached Manipur, adding that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also said that China had entered Ladakh and “taken our land”.
He also referred to the new standard map released by China claiming Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese territory and said parts of the northeastern state were also being shown by China on its map and asked the government to “end this first”.
He added, “After that PoK will merge with India on its own, you are not required for that to happen.”
Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj also attacked the Union minister alleging that Singh was trying to divert the country’s attention from China. Bharadwaj said, “VK Singh is trying to divert the attention from China. It is a fact that China has taken over a large area of the Indian Territory. According to a report by Ladakh’s SP, 26 out of 66 positions, where the Indian Army used to patrol, are now inaccessible to them. General Singh should speak about China occupying Indian territory first.”