Karan Singh Demands Statehood, Fair Polls

Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh | File Photo

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Karan Singh on Wednesday expressed sorrow over the recent killings of civilians and armed forces personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, and demanded early restoration of statehood and free and fair elections there.

Singh, who has been the first 'Sadr-i-Riyasat' of Jammu and Kashmir and later its governor, stressed on starting the political process in the Union territory (UT) soon.

"While the L-G and the UT administration are doing their best, this cannot be a substitute for a freely-elected legislature and a full-fledged popular government," he said in a statement.

Noting that the delimitation process should not be unduly prolonged, the Congress leader requested the Delimitation Commission to fix its own time schedule for completing the exercise.

"Once that is done and statehood is restored to Jammu and Kashmir, the process of free and fair elections can begin, resulting, hopefully, in a stable government within the next few months.

"This seems to me to be the only logical and practical way of proceeding," he noted.

Singh also said the recent events in Jammu and Kashmir have filled him with deep sorrow.

"My heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the utterly condemnable murder of several innocent civilians drawn from all three religions in the Valley, to the families of the five brave Army personnel in Rajouri who gave up their lives in the defence of the nation and, let me say, to the parents of the misguided young men who took to the gun and, inevitably, perished by the gun," he said.

Singh said these events highlight the necessity to strengthen the security apparatus and public vigilance at all levels, which he hoped is being done.

"They also point to the importance of re-starting the political process as early as possible," he reiterated.

Four people from the minority community, including two teachers, were shot dead by militants in Srinagar City recently.
Five Army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), were killed in a fierce gunfight with militants during an anti-insurgency operation in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.

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