At Sheikh’s mausoleum, NC pitches for internal autonomy


Srinagar: The opposition National Conference (NC) on Saturday vowed to fight for the restoration of “internal autonomy” in Jammu and Kashmir and demanded the “strengthening” of Article 370 of the constitution that accords special status to the state.

The party would continue to strive for the restoration of internal autonomy, as had existed before 1953, in the state, NC leaders said at a party convention held at the mausoleum of party founder Sheikh Abdullah on the banks of Dal lake here.

“From time to time, numerous amendments in Article 370, by virtue of which Kashmir has a distinct identity, have created a trust-deficit in the state-centre relations,” NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said.

He said that restoration of autonomy was a must to end political uncertainty in the state and to address political aspirations of the state’s people.

“NC will never abandon its fight for the rights of people here and realisation of their dreams,” he added.

The senior NC leader said that since different government agencies had said that law and order in Jammu and Kashmir was improving, it was opportune time to revoke Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state.

“If government sources say that the graph of violence in many parts of Kashmir is on decline and infiltration of militants into the state is also decreasing, then what stops the government from repealing AFSPA, like Tripura did recently,” he asked.

“NC had previously asked the centre to revoke AFSPA, so that people here can live without fear,” said Sagar, who was rural development minister in the previous Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress government.

The opposition party also criticised the PDP-BJP coalition government for “failing to formulate any comprehensive rehabilitation package of the 2014 flood victims”.

“We (NC-Cong government) had asked the centre for a package of Rs.44,000 crore for the rehabilitation of flood victims and flood-affected traders. The money was not released but still Omar did his best to help the people,” he said.

Besides Sagar, the convention was attended by Mian Altaf, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Nasir Aslam Wani, Shamima Firdous, Mubarak Gul and other former ministers and party senior leaders.

The NC leaders opposed the state government’s new job policy and termed it “anti-people” and “aimed at making backdoor appointments”.

“Inexperience of the new dispensation is before everyone. The state is in acute financial crunch and the government is unable to pay its own employees. Amid all this, the new job policy is nothing but an attempt to appoint favourite candidates as the proposed selection process lacks merit or any kind of scrutiny,” they said.

NC leaders demanded that the state government should roll back its recruitment policy and warned that their “party will go to any extent against it”.

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