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Posted at: Oct 10, 2019, 8:20 PM; last updated: Oct 10, 2019, 8:52 PM (IST)

Cong to write to Corbyn on J-K position, disowns Overseas UK unit's move

Cong to write to Corbyn on J-K position, disowns Overseas UK unit's move
UK representatives of the Indian National Congress with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. — @jeremycorbyn/Twitter

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 10

Embarrassed over a tweet by UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn who said he discussed human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir with UK representatives of the Indian National Congress, the Congress on Thursday officially distanced itself from the matter saying they would write to Corbyn to convey the party’s official line on J-K.

“We disown any statement on J-K made by anyone abroad. No one expect the Congress here is authorised to comment on policy matters and Congress position on J-K is clearly articulated in a Congress Working Committee resolution of August 6. No other entity abroad is authorised to speak on policy matters on behalf of Congress. I will personally write to Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party’s foreign affairs cell Leader to clarify Congress position on Jammu and Kashmir which is an internal matter of India,” Congress foreign affairs cell chairman Anand Sharma said after the BJP attacked the Congress following the news that the Kamal Dhaliwal-led Indian Overseas Congress UK delegation met Corbyn and discussed JK.

Dhaliwal’s images with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi offering him sweets and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur standing in the backdrop, meanwhile. went viral on social media.

Read: BJP slams Cong after UK Labour Party head says he met, discussed Kashmir with its leaders

BJP used the Corbyn tweet to attack the Congress. The Corbyn tweet said, “A very productive meeting with UK representatives from the Indian Congress Party where we discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir. There must be a de-escalation and an end to the cycle of violence and fear which has plagued the region for so long.”

As a political controversy broke out here on the eve of Haryana and Maharashtra elections, Indian Overseas Congress UK later clarified they had met Corbyn to condemn the Labour Party Resolution on JK.

“Our meeting with @jeremycorbyn was held to condemn the Kashmir resolution passed by his Party & to reiterate that J&K is an internal matter & outside intervention will not be accepted. @BJP4India’s malicious statements are another attempt to distract people from their failures,” IOC UK branch tweeted today as the BJP attacked Congress for raising “human rights in JK with foreign leaders.”

Congress senior spokesman Anand Sharma later rushed to damage control and said, “We are shocked by this misrepresentation (By UK Indian Overseas Congress) and any unauthorised statement that has been made on behalf of the Congress party. The delegation which met or for that matter any committee or chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress has neither a mandate nor any authorisation to speak on behalf of the Congress party on any matter which pertains to policy or  India’s domestic issues. They are supposed to be only confined to the Indian diaspora. The Congress position is firm, consistent and clear, as articulated in our working committee resolution of August 6.

“Any issue pertaining to the state of Jammu and Kashmir are purely India’s internal affairs.” Sharma said what the Congress party has to say is communicated officially here in India and no other entity, individual or a body, has any authority to do so.

“We disown any such claim in entirety. I am conveying this to the leadership of the Labour party and to Barry Gardener, who heads the foreign affairs department of Labour Party to convey this to Jeremy Corbyn,” Sharma added.

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