SRINAGAR: Senior congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said that Article 35A, which grants special rights and privileges to Jammu and Kashmir citizens, should not be abrogated in the “interest of the nation”.
“Article 35 A is in the interest of the nation. It should not be touched. Nobody should make any effort for its abrogation,” Aiyar told reporters on the sidelines of an event, ‘Discussion on Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations’, held by the Centre for Peace and Progress.
He also advocated for dialogue with the Hurriyat. “They have to be engaged in dialogue. During our last year’s visit to Kashmir, we met Hurriyat leaders and Mohammad Yasin Malik said that he will meet us in New Delhi,” Aiyar said.
He said that the Government of India should hold talks with Pakistan and simultaneously with people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“There are several reports of committees, working groups, and interlocutors. These reports have to be put on table and discussed with all stakeholders. India has to be proud that a Muslim-majority state is its part. We can’t guarantee whether talks will lead to any solution. But we can guarantee that war will not lead to any solution,” he said and added that the BJP-led government at the centre will not come to power in the 2019 elections.
“There has been a new government in Pakistan but there will be change in the sub-continent only when there is change in government at New Delhi. There will be a big change after elections,” he said.
Senior politician from Kashmir and DNP chief Ghulam Hassan Mir said that Kashmir was an “election agenda” for India and Pakistan. “War is no solution. India has to make Pakistan its best friend. People in Pakistan believe that India is hell-bent on eliminating them. India has to regain trust through talks,” he said.