Congress Minister Demands Autonomy For Jammu, Ladakh5 December 2010
The Indian Express
Jammu: Taking a posture that is bound to put both the National Conference and the Congress in an embarrassing situation, a minister in the Omar Abdullah Cabinet on Sunday virtually suggested trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma told a Congress rally that while some people talk of azadi, others talk of autonomy and self rule. Kashmiris take away major share of funds allocated by the Centre and also criticise it, he said, much to the discomfort of Pradesh Congress Committee president Saifuddin Soz who was also present on the occasion. “I propose that while addressing Kashmir, we shall also take into consideration aspirations of the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions,” he said. Talking to The Indian Express, Sharma said autonomy was not possible without first giving it to different regions within the state, so as to protect the aspirations of the people. Addressing the rally, Soz said the integrity of the state was by itself a guarantee for equitable and balanced development of all parts and the Congress was committed to maintaining and strengthening it.