Opposition National Conference (NC), Tuesday said that regional autonomy to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is a way forward to satiate aspirations of the people in three distinct regions of the State.
“We strongly believe that autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and regional autonomy to the three regions with autonomous administrative structures for sub-regions on the pattern of Ladakh Hill Development Councils can defeat nefarious designs of the forces, who want trifurcation of the state for their petty political interests,” NC leader and provincial President, Devender Singh Rana said in a 40-minute interactive session with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Rana was leading a 25-member delegation of NC who met the Union Home Minister here on Tuesday morning.
“NC will support every move, aimed at bringing peace in the state, provided these take care of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and unique identity of its people,” Rana said.
He expressed satisfaction over assurance of the Union Home Minister on Article 35A, hoping that this will be reflected by sincerity with which Government of India will defend the case in Supreme Court of India.
“The Attorney General of India must be asked to submit a forceful counter in the apex court to safeguard Article 35A which is endorsement of the law enacted by Maharja Hari Singh 90 years ago,” Rana pleaded.
He said that the assurance by the Home Minister is actually appreciation of concerns of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh which they demonstrated vehemently and unequivocally after irresponsible statements coming from certain responsible quarters in the ruling party at the Centre and in the State.
“The people of the state feel vindicated on their stand as the assurance has scotched every apprehension,” he added.
Rana said a hope has been rekindled in Jammu and Kashmir by the words of wisdom delivered from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, emphasizing the issues in the sensitive state cannot be addressed by Goli or Gaali. He hoped that the sincerity shown in embracing the suffering people of the state will fructify on ground.
Rana said the five C’s—compassion, communication, co-existence, confidence building and consistency—asserted by the Home Minister in Srinagar can be well seen as manifestation of what the Prime Minister told the nation on Jammu and Kashmir.
“Therefore, we are eagerly waiting for taking the process of reconciliation forward”, he said.
The NC leader said that more onus lies on the BJP in preserving the idea of Jammu and Kashmir, which syncronises with the idea of India, as the inclusiveness for which this state is known for, is under severe threat. He said unity in diversity is the treasure and greatest strength of the nation and the state, which is needed to be preserved at all costs.
Rana expressed concern over attempts being made to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on regional and communal lines, saying this does not augur well for the unity of the state.
On bringing lasting peace in the region, Rana hailed the successful initiatives taken by the Centre in ending Dokhlam standoff after sustained talks with China and hoped that the same spirit will be emulated in tackling issues with Pakistan.
However, he said this may not be the right time to resume talks because of border skirmishes and other factors but there is need for generating conducive atmosphere by both India and Pakistan to have a meaningful dialogue, which he said will benefit more the border people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been facing brunt of intermittent ceasefire violations and shelling from across the border.
Rana brought the issues confronting to the people of forward areas and reiterated the demand for keeping the promises of raising shelter sheds and providing jobs to the youth by organizing special drives, especially in central para-military forces.
He also took up the issues of refugees of Pakistan administered Jammu and Kashmir, saying the recommendations of Rs 9025 crores made by the Omar Abdullah led government needed priority consideration.
“The paltry package of Rs 2,000 crore, announced by the Centre is not sufficient keeping in view magnitude of the problem,” he maintained.
Rana also dwelt upon concerns in Jammu with regard to appointments in various departments and called for transparency especially in the recruitment of SPOs. He said any attempt of interfering in the recruitment in Jammu and Kashmir Police could be counterproductive, as the state police had been performing excellent role in line of duty.
The NC leader also dwelt in detail about the prevailing misgovernance, administrative paralysis due to lack of political direction and developmental inertia, saying the past three years have been traumatic for the people of the state, which gave massive mandate to the ruling dispensation.
He said the people were genuinely feeling betrayed and let-down as nothing is visible on ground with regard to development and progress.
On the issue of Rohingyas, Rana reiterated the stand of the party and said that the Centre can take a call on this issue under Foreign Nationals Act and the UN Charter.