New Delhi: The divide within Team Anna over senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan's statement calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir to decide the Valley's future is out in the open. Both anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi have distanced themselves from Bhushan's statement calling the remarks his personal opinion.
Addressing the media on Friday in his village Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare said that said that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Anna displayed his displeasure at Bhushan's comment and said, "Prashant Bhushan's views on Kashmir are wrong. We do not endorse Prashan Bhushan's statement on Kashmir. I will tell Prashant Bhushan that if he is giving an opinion on a subject, he can give it in his personal capacity. If he is giving the team's view, he should speak to the team before."
Anna also cleared his stand on the Kashmir issue and said, "My personal view is that Kashmir is an integral part of India."
Kiran Bedi, who is currently in Amsterdam, said that Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India.
"This is Bhushan's personal view. I am for better governance and people integration of Jammu and Kashmir," Bedi.
Bhushan, an integral part of Team Anna, was brutally attacked on Wednesday for his remarks by three people - Tejinder Singh Bagga, Inder Verma and Vishnu Gupta.
Anna also added that future of the senior lawyer as a member of his team is in doubt following the controversial comments. "We will decide if Bhushan would be part of Team Anna," said Anna.
The 74-year-old also clarified that the Team Anna will only fight against corruption and for a strong Lokpal. "Team Anna will work to bring Jan Lokpal Bill and corruption free India," he said.
Bhushan's comments for plebiscite in Kashmir has also been criticised by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Thackeray supported the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena members who attacked Bhushan.
In an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna', Thakerey wrote that Bhushan's attackers were not rogues or thieves but were genuinely angered by Bhushan's comment on Kashmir and if their actions are widely criticised, so must be Bhushan's statement.
Thackeray also attacked Anna for criticising the violence but not commenting on Bhushan's statements on Kashmir. He said such people should get a dose of nationalism and supporters of Hindutva must show them how the torch of a revolution is lit.
Bhushan has, however, stood by his comments on Kashmir and claimed that merely expressing a view that is not liked by some sections of the society does not mean that the statements are seditious.
He said that fascist mindset was now increasingly being seen in several people and several organisations and added that if someone does not agree with any viewpoint then that person has every right to express his opposition, but that should not become a license to indulge in violence.