JAMMU, Nov 17: While criticising the decision of BJP led NDA Govt at the Centre to club Jammu with Kashmir and to grant it the status of Union Territory, NPP chairman Harshdev Singh said that down grading of the State had come as a bolt from the blue.
“The decision of the Central Govt has been full of shock and offence for the nationalist people of Jammu who are feeling betrayed and downgraded. While abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A was welcome, the lowering of status of a 200 year old State to Union Territory was irking the minds of the people especially of Jammu region who felt disgraced and dishonoured,” said Harshdev Singh while addressing people in Raipur-Domana constituency here today.
Countering the argument advanced by Amit Shah that UT status was accorded to J&K only to address the law and order situation in Valley, Singh questioned as to why Jammu was brought within its ambit.
“Why should Jammu be made to suffer for the troubles in Kashmir? Why should Jammu region be deprived of its right to have a Govt. of its own? Why should it be also brought under Central rule along with Kashmir? Jammu can’t be allowed to be disgraced merely for the political expediencies of BJP at the Centre. If there are trouble makers in Kashmir, the remedy does not lie in punishing the nationalist people of Jammu who have always respected law of the land and stood by the nation”, said Singh while describing the Union Govt decision as repulsively bizarre and an insult to Dogra land.
Seeking early review of the decision, Mr Singh cautioned the BJP led Govt to refrain from downplaying the sentiments of people of Jammu region who gave it massive mandate in Assembly and Parliament elections. He said that the people of Dogra land had overwhelmingly voted BJP to power on the strength of its slogans to uphold the honour of Dogras who made countless scarifies for creation of the State.
He said that Maharaja Hari Singh had acceded the state to the Indian Union under the belief that the interest of his subjects and Dogras would be duly safeguarded but regretted that the only Dogra State in the country had lost its identity as state for which the BJP led Govt was answerable and owed explanation to the Dogras.