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Rahul insulted India, gave Pakistan handle to target it on Kashmir: BJP

Rahul insulted India, gave Pakistan handle to target it on Kashmir: BJP

(Eds: Updating with more details) New Delhi, Aug 28 (PTI) The BJP on Wednesday accused Rahul Gandhi of "insulting and shaming" India, and said he gave Pakistan a "handle" to target the country in the United Nations by alleging violence and death of people in Kashmir.A number of BJP leaders hit out at Gandhi, with Union minister Prakash Javadekar demanding an apology from him and the Congress, while his ministerial colleague Smriti Irani alleged that the Wayanad MP thinks "less of the tricolour and values it little, and is liked more by the enemy country".The BJP fielded Information and Broadcasting Minister Javadekar to target Gandhi after Pakistan used his comments about reported "violence and people dying" in Kashmir as part of its petition in the UN to attack India over the situation in the Valley.This is the "most irresponsible politics" the country has witnessed, Javadekar said, accusing Gandhi of playing in the hands of Pakistan which used his remarks as an "evidence"."Nobody spoke such a language in India... It gave Pakistan a handle. The Congress has shown India in a bad colour. His comments have shamed and insulted India," he told reporters.The Congress leader's allegations about violence in Kashmir were wrong, he said, adding it was made because of that party's "vote bank" politics.Taking a dig, Javadekar asked if Gandhi's mindset had also changed due to change in his constituency.The Congress leader represents Wayanad, a seat in Kerala with a large minority population, in Lok Sabha after he lost from his traditional Amethi seat.Prodded by reporters about his comments, the Union minister said his remarks were not about the constituency but its representative. "There is nothing wrong with Wayanad. What is wrong is its representative," he said.With the BJP using Gandhi's comments to corner the Congress over the emotive issue of Kashmir, the opposition party swung into damage-control mode as it slammed Pakistan for "mischievously" dragging his name in a petition moved in the United Nations to justify its "lies and misinformation" on Jammu and Kashmir.Gandhi also tweeted that Kashmir is India's internal matter and there is no room for Pakistan or any other country to intervene.Javadekar said the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have made a "complete U-turn" on his own will but because of circumstances and public anger over the former party chief's earlier comments.Gandhi had on August 10 said, "There are reports of violence, there are reports of people dying in Jammu and Kashmir."About Pakistan's petition also mentioning Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for his alleged comments referring to outsiders would now be able to marry Kashmiri girls after revocation of provisions of Article 370, Javadekar said he cannot responded to unfounded claims of Pakistan.Khattar had earlier said he never made such a comment. Irani also slammed the Congress leader during her visit to Amethi, a seat she had wrested from Gandhi in the recent general election."It is not for the first time that Pakistan is finding support from Rahul Gandhi," the Union Women and Child Development Minister said."It is a misfortune of the country that there is a leader in India who thinks less of the tricolour and values it little, and is liked more by the enemy country," she said.Asked about continuing restrictions in the Valley, Javadekar said "reasonable restrictions" are in place for ushering in normalcy.It is temporary and the people of Kashmir have "welcomed" it, he said, adding no leader says such a thing about his country that Gandhi did.On questions about comments from some Pakistani leaders about the likelihood of a war between the two countries, the Union minister said these threats will not change the ground situation. PTI KR KR NSDNSD