Chennai, February 18 (NDTV): Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has clarified after a controversy over comments apparently questioning why the government did not carry out a plebiscite in Kashmir. He said today that plebiscite is “no longer relevant” and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
“Why wasn’t plebiscite held in Kashmir, making people talk about it? What are they afraid of? Nothing can be done now. Didn’t they somehow divide the nation, that’s all. Why don’t you ask them again? They won’t do it,” Kamal Haasan had said to a large gathering of students on Sunday, where he also referred to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) as “Azad Kashmir”.
He was commenting on the Pulwama terror attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in which over 40 soldiers were killed on February 14. “When I was running a magazine called ‘Maiyam’, I wrote on the Kashmir issue and what is expected. Hold plebiscite and make people talk…why have they not conducted it? What are they scared of? They want to divide the nation, that’s all. Why don’t you ask them again? They won’t do it,” said the veteran actor, who set up his outfit Makkal Needhi Maiam last year.
“In Azad Kashmir, they are using Jihadis’ pictures in trains to portray them as heroes. That is a foolish thing for India too to think on those lines. If we want to prove that India is a far better country then we should not behave like this. That is where politics begins, a new political culture begins.”
Dwelling on Kashmir and problems plaguing the region, Kamal Haasan said if politicians in India and Pakistan “behaved well”, the Line of Control (LoC) will be under check.
“Why do soldiers die? Why should those guarding our home die? If both sides (India and Pakistan) behave properly, no soldier needs to die. The Line of Control will be under control.”
While putting out a clarification, Kamal Haasan said his comments on plebiscite were in the context of a magazine he edited decades ago.
The actor-politician recently said his new party would contest all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu in the national election, due by May.