Article 370 is thing of past, let Govt fulfill assurances: Ex Ministers

Former Ministers Dilawar Mir & G H Mir addressing a joint press conference at Jammu on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh
Former Ministers Dilawar Mir & G H Mir addressing a joint press conference at Jammu on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh

Release of detainees, Statehood with domicile rights demanded
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 23: Maintaining that Article 370 was now a thing of past, two former ministers and prominent mainstream politicians from Kashmir valley, Dilawar Mir and Ghulam Hassan Mir today urged the Government to fulfill the assurances of development in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of special status and also demanded release of political detainees besides restoration of Statehood to J&K with Constitutional provision of domicile rights to the locals.
“Article 370 has now gone and since Government of India believed that this special status was the biggest blockade in progress and growth of J&K, let the fruits of development pour in under the new arrangement,” they said while addressing a joint press conference, here today.
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Justifying the stand for limiting their demand to domicile rights and restoration of Statehood only instead of seeking erstwhile Special Status to J&K, Dilawar Mir said that abrogation of Article 370 was now sub- judice issue and Supreme Court only has to take a decision on the same.
“Special Status of J&K under Article 370 can be revived either by the Supreme Court or a consensus among national parties, which seems almost impossible under the present scenario and in both the cases, we have no role to play,” quipped G H Mir.
Expressing their satisfaction over the initiatives taken by the Government for restoration of normalcy in J&K, the former ministers stressed that more steps were required to ensure speedy developmental works and easing out restrictions besides release of political detainees, including three former Chief Ministers.
“We want that exercise of releasing political prisoners including three former Chief Ministers should be initiated especially as goodwill gesture on the eve of Republic Day,” said G H Mir and admitted that after their recent meeting with the Lieutenant Governor and submitting charter of demands, some positive developments had started taking place, including release of some detainees.
“If there are any, who cannot be released due to security concerns, the matter can be taken under consideration but the youth who are lodged in outside jails, can be set free,” he added.
Stressing for complete restoration of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, G H Mir demanded that at least media fraternity, businessmen and tourism related persons should be exempted from such curbs and be given access to the facility. “The Government of India no doubt played a key role in Kashmir post August 5 and no single civilian death was reported in the Valley but people of Kashmir also exercised restraint because they do not believe in violence and hence there is no logic in continuing the restrictions,” he added.
On their reaction over visit of 36 Union Ministers, both the Mirs said: “Let them (Union Ministers) visit and see what is actually happening on ground”.
Both the leaders also rejected the speculations of formation of any third front and said that they had met LG in individual capacity and an idea of forming any front was pre-mature as of now.
In response to a query with regard to his expulsion from PDP, Dilawar Mir claimed that he was still in the party since PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who could take action against him, was under house arrest. “I am still a PDP man but addressing this conference as individual and we met the LG also in individual capacity to raise the concerns of the people,” he added.