Noises for abrogation of Article 370 have no takers in the country: Mir

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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief G A Mir Wednesday defended Article 370 of the Constitution which provides special status to the state and said noises for its abrogation have no takers in the country.

Claiming that the situation in Kashmir situation had deteriorated, Mir said the Congress would not lag behind in the process of conduct of panchayat and municipal elections but a decision should be taken after reviewing the ground situation.

“Different people speak differently about Article 370 which is a special safeguard for the people of the state. The whole world knows that Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India is based on some conditions, the biggest being the special status, having own constitution and flag,” Mir told reporters here.

The Congress leader, who led a rally from party headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk to the office of deputy commissioner at Wazarat road here, was reacting to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s statement on Tuesday that a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was probably an “aberration” and that sovereignty can never be compromised.

Mir said there were many examples in the world where smaller states enjoy a status like Jammu and Kashmir enjoys with India.

“People raise such things for vote bank politics but statements like these will have no takers in the country,” he said.

On reports of an MBA graduate from Doda joining Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, he said it was very unfortunate that highly qualified youth were taking up arms.

The trend is going on for the last three years and it is the outcome of the central government’s poor policy to deal with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

On the upcoming panchayat and civic polls in the state, Mir said it was the responsibility of the governor-led administration to provide secure atmosphere to the candidates and voters and ensure peaceful, free and fair polls.

“The situation in the state, especially in the Kashmir valley, over the past three years has deteriorated. The previous PDP-BJP government failed to conduct bypolls to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and announced its cancellation just one day ahead of the scheduled date of polling…They announced panchayat polls and local bodies elections but later deferred them,” he said.

Mir said the Congress had informed former governor N N Vohra and his successor Satya Pal Malik that the party would not lag behind if they choose to conduct the panchayat and municipal elections but a decision should be taken after reviewing the ground situation.

“It is the responsibility of the governor administration and the Centre to provide secure atmosphere to the contestants and the voters and we are watching how the situation develops but we will not escape from the democratic exercise,” Mir said.

Amid chanting of anti-Modi and anti-BJP slogans, several hundred Congress activists marched nearly a kilometre to protest what they alleged was the “Rafale scam” before submitting a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Jammu.

“Prime Minister Modi and his government is maintaining silence over the deal. We just want the government to reveal the price of each fighter aircraft to the people of the country as Congress-led UPA II had entered into an agreement with France before the fall of the government,” Mir said.

He alleged the Rafale deal was the “biggest scam” in the history of the country and therefore Congress was seeking a joint parliamentary committee to look into the deal.

“If the UPA II had secured the deal for Rs 526 crore for each aircraft, reports suggest that the BJP had purchased the same jet for Rs 1670 crore,” he said. PTI

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