September 2017 News
GoI Should Defend Article 35 A: Karan Singh29 September 2017
Srinagar: Former Sadr-e-Riyasat and senior Congress leader Dr Karan Singh Friday said Government of India should defend Article 35 A before the Supreme Court. 'After my interactions with cross section of society in Kashmir, there is a demand that the Government of India must put up a strong defence of the Article 35 A before the Supreme Court. I met a lot of people including former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Governor NN Vohra and took careful note of the sentiments that were expressed regarding Article 35A. While senior government authorities have publicly assured that Kashmir's sentiments in this matter will be respected, but the fact is that the final say will be of the Supreme Court and the government of India has not so far filed any affidavit,' Dr Karan Singh said in a statement. 'In discussions regarding the current political situation in Kashmir, almost all people suggested that it was important to have open talks with Hurriyat leaders, although it seems that they have not yet publicly expressed their willingness to talk with Government of India representatives. In my view, talks are to be welcomed, whether at the national, state or regional level, whether at Track One or Track Two, and some urgent initiatives need to be taken to start the process,' he said. 'I did mention during my meetings that the sentiments of Jammu and Ladakh have to be factored in when we address all the current issues. Unfortunately, the unanimous demand for declaring Maharaja Hari Singh's birthday as a public holiday, as is Sheikh Abdullah's, fell on deaf ears. This is a tri-regional State and all sentiments must always be taken into account. I will visit Jammu next month,' he said. He said there was general dismay that for the second year in a row the tourist influx into Kashmir has virtually collapsed. 'This has deprived Kashmir of thousands of crores of rupees income as well as extensive employment, spread across all sections of society from five-star hotels to the shikara and pony workers. This is a cruel blow to the economy of the valley and one can only hope that at least from next year all elements who have genuine sentiments for the welfare of the Kashmiri people will ensure that peace and stability is restored so that national and international tourism can be resumed,' he said.