Congress demands restoration of statehood, early polls in J&K

Jammu: The Congress on Friday demanded restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, safeguards to jobs and property for the local people and release of all political leaders to facilitate early assembly polls in the erstwhile state.
A resolution in this regard was passed in an executive committee meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), chaired by senior party leaders Gulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Gulam Ahmed Mir, here.
“We passed a unanimous resolution here demanding restoration of full statehood, protection to jobs and property rights to the people of J and K and release of all political leaders and workers to facilitate early assembly polls,” Azad told reporters after the conclusion of the meeting.
He said Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest states and restoration of the statehood will do justice to its people.
“J &K is a border state, which shares borders with China and Pakistan. The BJP government should take on board the people of J and K and the northeast and not play with fire,” Azad said.
The Congress expresses its deep solidarity with the people of J&K who underwent numerous kinds of curbs and curtailments of their civil rights and liberties during the past over five months after the abrogation of the special status to their state under Article 370 of the Constitution, he said.
“The erstwhile state was put into a state of undeclared emergency whereby all mainstream opposition leaders and activists were put to severe restrictions including detentions and some of them under the stringent provisions of law for undeclared periods,” he said.
“GoI hurt the self-esteem of the people by reducing status of J&K from statehood to a UT, a phenomena never happened in the 72 years of India’s independence,” he added.
Azad said the party also expresses its grave concern over the continued escalation along the Indo-Pak border.
While condemning such actions of Pakistan against our soldiers and civilians in the strongest possible words, we urge the Centre to take all possible and urgent steps to prevent and check Pakistan from indulging in such mischiefs and misadventures on borders, he added.
The Modi government continues to harp on its diversionary tactics, the most recent being the dispatching of a large team of central ministers to J&K in view of the growing resentment against the government on various issues and to cover up the failures of the BJP government on various fronts especially the economic crises facing the Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
Azad said those who restored the democracy in J&K by participating in elections despite militancy have been put behind bars and it is time for the government to take everyone on board.
Azad parried a question on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tweet hitting at the NIA chief over the case of DSP Davinder Singh, saying he was not aware about it.
Ambika Soni said that there is no question of any Congress leader joining any group or front allegedly being created in the UT.
Mir, who is the JKPCC president, said, “We are sure that unless the established mainstream political parties and other political entities are not allowed to function and perform their usual political activities, no meaningful and credible political process can take off and succeed.”
The resolution by the Congress said, “The party demands restoration of full statehood status to Jammu and Kashmir, adequate legal and constitutional guarantees to safeguard the rights of locals over land, jobs and admissions in professional courses, the resolution said.”
All leaders and activists of the Congress and other political entities, detained during the period should be released forthwith and all curbs and restrictions on mainstream political parties, their leaders and activists should be lifted to allow them to resume their usual political activities to create a congenial and conducive political atmosphere for a meaningful and credible political process to pave way for holding of early Assembly elections, it further said.
The Centre had on August 5 last year abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories. PTI

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