July 2004 News

Lyngdoh favours a political settlement for J&K problem

22 July 2004
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India

New Delhi: Former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh feels that successive Governments at the Centre have eroded the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and has favoured a 'political settlement' of the Kashmir problem. 'Article 370 and giving Kashmir the option of writing their Constitution, generally setting the sovereignty of that state and sovereignty of Indian state at par - all that has been eroded', he told Karan Thapar's Tonight at Ten programme on CNBC channel. Largely credited with holding free and fair polls in the state, Lyngdoh, who has settled in Hyderabad after retirement, was responding to a question about suggestions in his book that the Governments in Delhi deliberately eroded the state's autonomy and went back on its promises to the people. On whether the Kashmiri people were 'distrustful' of the elections, he said, 'the fact is that they firmly believe that 77 (elections) was the only good one.' Asked whether there was a 'real basis' to some of the disenchantment the people there have with the rest of the country, he said, 'it's something quite objective. You don't have to be subjective about it. It's there for everybody to see'. Asked how strong the sentiment for independence was, he said, 'we never go speaking to them but there are surveys which indicate that people in the Valley, most of them, would like to get independence.'


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