It Is Repetition of 1990, Says Ghulam Nabi Azad

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SRINAGAR: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, also the former Chief Minister, said that what is happening in Kashmir these days is exactly what happened in 1990. He said that Jagmohan provided the transport buses to the Kashmiri Pandit the same way, the governor’s administration is providing free transport to the tourists and yatris to leave Kashmir against their wishes and the wishes of the host population.

“The VP Singh government was supported by BJP and the party pressurised the Prime Minister to appoint Jagmohan as governor against the wishes of Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah,” Azad said in a press conference after the Congress’s Core Group on Kashmir met to discuss the prevailing situation in Kashmir. “Jagmohan later provided free transport to the Kashmiri Pandits to leave for Jammu.”

Azad said Jagmohan was BJP choice and not that of V P Singh. He said the Pandit exodus from Kashmir or their killings took place in BJP government.

Thirty years later, Azad said, the same thing is happening now. He said the governor’s administration has ordered the tourists and the pilgrims to Amarnath to leave and they are being provided with the free transport. Azad said that there is no justification. “The only thing that they have shown is a landmine and a sniper,” Azad said. “In my era, there were hundreds of such snipers and there were instances when a lot of landmines were laid for us. This is nothing new.”

“The Prime Minister should make statements in both houses of Parliament on the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s his duty,” Azad said. He also said that the government should clarify why additional paramilitary forces were sent to the state though it has been a lean year in terms of terrorist activities, barring the Pulwama attack.

Azad said that Article 35A is something that has been there since 1927. “If a provision is there in eight northeastern states and Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and where you cannot purchase land, why is Jammu and Kashmir being singled out,” Azad asked. “It is being done because doing this in Jammu and Kashmir will create a situation that will help get BJP to get more votes.” In most of these states, BJP is in power.

The former Chief Minister said that BJP does not see what happens to Kashmir. “It actually sees how it will get benefitted by what it is doing to Kashmir,” he asserted. “They are already in power in Jammu and Kashmir and now they want to en-cash the Kashmir cheques in other states.”

“We are totally baffled and aghast over what is happening,” Dr Karan Singh, the heir apparent and Jammu and Kashmir’s reagent told the media. He said he has not seen these unprecedented things happening in the state – that his family constituted, since 1949 when he held the first public office.

“I am trying to ascertain from the Mahant Dipendra Giri about how the yatra can not have the formal closure that falls on particular dates,” Dr Singh said. “How can anybody do this? I have been part of the concluding Pujas’ personally for a long time and I know how important it is to have the Charri Mubarak reach the cave. Is it being abandoned?”

Ghulam Nabi Azad as CM of JK.

Dr Singh refused to get into the particular articles of the constitution but asked why the people of Jammu and Kashmir are being forced into a situation of suffering at a time when it was peaceful. “Is there a good reason for that? If it is, we wish to know,” he asserted.

The Congress party condemned the curtailment of Amarnath Yatra that has led to worry across India. They demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi must make a statement in Parliament on the prevailing situation.

Anand Sharma, another Congress leader said that his party would oppose any move to dilute the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. “In that case, we will be with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, insisting the party supports the special provisions to the state.

Former Home Minister P Chidambaram said that he has no knowledge about what is happening but the Home Ministry in last 24-48 hours “is preparing some misadventure”. Each issue, he said, is fraught with serious legal and political consequences. “Some of these issues are already before the Supreme Court,” he said. “Parliament is in session. So the government thinks that they can push through this or that very likely by some legal manure, I think they are very wrong, their understanding of the constitution is completely wrong.”

“Some of the features of the Constitution are completely basic to that state,” the former Home Minister said. “You can make that provision, you cannot unmake that provision.”

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