Azad says no point in raising Art 370 issue; demands restoration of Statehood, holding of polls

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a public rally at Kokernag in Anantnag on Sunday.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a public rally at Kokernag in Anantnag on Sunday.

‘Militancy brought disempowerment of J&K’

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Nov 28: Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said there is no point in raising the Article 370 issue and demanded restoration of Statehood and early Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Azad while addressing a rally at Kokernag area of Anantnag said that identity of J&K has been snatched but over the last two years they have fought in the Parliament and finally GoI has agreed to restore Statehood.

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“We had the honour of being India’s oldest State, but that identity has been snatched from us. We made efforts within the Parliament for more than 2 years by raising several issues pertaining to J&K, and its outcome was that finally, the Govt agreed on the restoration of the Statehood to J&K as well as the conduct of Assembly election-which Govt said will be held soon”, he said.
Taking credit for raising the issue of J&K in the Parliament, he said that despite being far away he feels pain and agony of people.
“It must have happened for the first time in history that I made it possible that Kashmir was discussed in the Parliament thrice. We might be living far, but we do feel your pain and agony”, he said.
Azad said that militancy has led to disempowerment of people of Jammu and Kashmir nothing else.
“31 year-long period of militancy has resulted in pain and agony to the people of J&K. It has affected J&K on all fronts. It has only brought wounds and destruction and the loss of human lives. The militancy which is still on has brought disempowerment for the people of J&K and nothing else”, he said.
He added that lot of lives have been lost in Kashmir and the loss is irreparable but unfortunately bloodshed is still on.
“We have lost lives, including that of our youngsters and children. Security forces, police personnel have also lost their lives. It is a great loss that can never be fulfilled. But unfortunately, the bloodshed is still on”, he said.
The Congress leader demanded restoration of Statehood and conduct of elections and made it clear that there is no point in raising Article 370 issue.
“Our demand is the restoration of Statehood and the conduct of elections in J&K without any delay; there is no point in talking of any other issue such as 370 which we have already discussed in the Parliament”, he said.
“Delimitation Commission should submit its report and after that, soon after the winters are over, the elections should be held in J&K after the restoration of the Statehood”, he demanded.
Azad admitted the differences in the Congress but said that in the upcoming elections in various States his party will perform well.
“The internal crises are in every party and that should not be the point of discussion, but we hope that in the upcoming elections in several States, Congress ends up performing well”, he said.