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Kashmir 'internal' matter, but external affairs wants to discuss apple prices and jobs

Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar repeats governor Malik's lines

By The Telegraph in New Delhi
  • Published 29.08.19, 7:48 PM
  • Updated 29.08.19, 7:49 PM
  • a min read
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External affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was asked about a letter that Pakistan sent to the UN on Kashmir, at which point he mentioned the governor's news conference yesterday. AP file photo

The ministry of external affairs today parroted lines from Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik's news conference yesterday and took on what is seen by the Centre as an "internal" matter of India.

External affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was asked about a letter that Pakistan sent to the UN on Kashmir, at which point he mentioned the governor's news conference yesterday. 

On August 9, too, Kumar had held a news conference a day after Pakistan stopped the Samjahuta Express from entering its territory three days after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was scrapped. Like that day, today too Kumar took questions from the assembled journalists, but then veered off to talk about apple prices and employment opportunities in Kashmir.

"The facts (on Jammu and Kashmir) are being presented on a regular basis by the district administration. You must have seen the statement by the govenor of Jammu and Kashmir. I will take this opportunity to highlight some of the steps and measures he has announced," Kumar said.

“We have reports from different hospitals in the Valley, we have seen the stocks of life saving drugs, and not even a single hospital has reported shortage of drugs,” Kumar said.

Kashmir, in the middle of a lockdown and information blackout that started on August 5, is on a gradual yet positive improvement, Kumar said. He also said the local government was handling the situation "with maturity and restraint". “Not a single life has been lost, not a single live bullet has been fired,” Kumar said.

The Centre and several ministers have reiterated that Pakistan must not meddle in India's "internal" matters. A statement in this vein was made by defence minister Rajnath Singh in Leh today.

Like the governor, Raveesh Kumar spoke about job promises or apple prices. He reiterated that 4,000 primary and middle schools were open but didn’t talk about students in those schools.

Talking about Pakistan, Kumar said that there have been statements encouraging jihad in India and provocative tweets to incite violence. He called the statements irresponsible and interfering in India’s internal matters. “The objective to create an environment to show it is an alarming situation,” Kumar said. “The ground realities are very different. They want to project that the situation between India and Pakistan are delicate.”