August 2001 News

Centre must look at J&K autonomy again: NC

11 August 2001
The Asian Age
Shahid Faridi

New Delhi: The National Conference has made a fresh demand for considering the autonomy resolution passed earlier by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, saying the resolution holds the key to solving the problem. The fresh demand comes after the Agra summit and the spurt in terrorist violence have once again brought national attention to bear on the troubled state. “When the Jammu and Kashmir state Assembly supported Maharaja Hari Singh’s accession deed, it’s resolution was taken to the United Nations as a proof of popular support to Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India; but when the same Legislative Assembly passes a resolution demanding more autonomy for the state, three persons sit in a room and take a decision to summarily reject it. This is the problem. If the problem in Jammu and Kashmir is to be solved, the will of the people, which is reflected through the resolutions adopted by the Legislative Assembly, has to be respected,” Mirza Abdul Rashid, a National Conference member of Parliament, said in the Rajya Sabha. He regretted that the Union government refused to even discuss the report in Parliament. “The Union government should set up a committee to examine the autonomy proposal afresh. Let the report be discussed in Parliament. Let every party express its view on it,” Mr Rashid demanded. Mr Rashid’s views were reflected by his party colleague Sharifuddin Shariq, who said: “If the Union government had problems with any portion of the autonomy resolution, it should have discussed it with the government of Jammu and Kashmir. But no such thing was done. The report was outrightly rejected. If the Central government had shown any interest in the report, a way could have been found to make it acceptable to both the Central and the state governments.” Reacting to the demand of the National Conference, which is part of the NDA government at the Centre, Union home minister L.K. Advani said in Parliament, “We have no problem in starting a discussion on the report if the clause on restoring pre-53 status in the state is dropped.” Mr Advani said Jammu and Kashmir had a special status and needs to given more freedom than recommended by the Sarkaria Commission. National Conference members were supported by noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar, who favoured restoration of pre-1953 status to the state “to win over the confidence of the people and move forward in resolving the Kashmir issue.”


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