Clarify stand on Article 370: NC

SRINAGAR: Opposition National Conference MLA Mohammad Shafi Uri today asked the state government to clarify its stand on safeguarding the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, as some leaders of ruling ally BJP were making statements about repealing Article 370 of the constitution.
“I was very happy when the Chief Minister (Mehbooba Mufti) spoke about (Prime Minister’s) working group recommendations and safeguarding of Article 370 that guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“But what are people supposed to think when they see (BJP leader) Subramanian Swamy, a close aide of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on television saying Article 370 will be done away with by 2017,” Uri, participating in the general discussion on budget proposals, said in the Legislative Assembly here.
The veteran NC leader said the statements were of concern as no one from the BJP, be it the party president Amit Shah or other spokespersons, have contradicted Swamy’s stand.
Referring to ruling PDP, he said National Conference was always taunted for the rejection of its Autonomy resolution, passed by the state assembly in July 2000, by the then NDA government at the Centre.
“It is our manifest belief that restoration of autonomy is the only way to resolve the Kashmir problem. Alternatively, we have been saying that India and Pakistan should come to the negotiating table and thrash out a solution which is acceptable to both the countries and people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Uri said peace in the state cannot be established without resolving Kashmir problem.
The NC leader said his party had joined electoral politics in 1996 following repeated assurances from none other than two Prime Ministers on restoration of autonomy to the state.
“In 1996, we took part in the elections after then Prime Minister H D Devegowda assured in the Parliament that the Centre will restore autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Before that, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had said ‘sky is the limit’ with regard to autonomy within the ambit of the Constitution,” he said.
Uri said while his speech might be perceived out of context as he was speaking on budget proposal, peace is the basic prerequisite for ensuring prosperity in the state.
“You cannot achieve peace by harping about peace. You have to take steps… you have to bring forth various formulations for solving the problem,” he said.
The NC has been demanding pre-1953 status for the state when only matters relating to defence, foreign affairs and communication were handled by the Centre.


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