Karan says doesn’t agree with blanket condemnation of Govt move

Fresh Delimitation will ensure fair division of power
Vikramaditya supports full integration

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Aug 8: Taking a stand different from his party’s, veteran Congress leader Karan Singh today said he does not agree with a blanket condemnation of the Government’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir and pointed out what he called were its several positives.
In a statement the “positive points” Singh counted included the Union Territory status for Ladakh, scrapping of Article 35 A, future delimitation of constituencies as a result of the State’s bifurcation into UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
However, he did not comment directly on Article 370 and also called for releasing the leaders of legitimate political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and initiate a broad-based political dialogue with them. Click here to watch video
His son and Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, while supporting Karan Singh’s statement, said this is the beginning of a new era for people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Vikramaditya Singh said he fully supports the step for full integration of J&K State into the Union of India and its reorganisation. He had unsuccessfully contested the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat against Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh as a Congress candidate.
Karan Singh’s statement comes two days after the Congress Working Committee deplored the manner in which the government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status by scrapping provisions of Article 370, and bifurcated the State.
“I personally do not agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments. There are several positive points,” Singh said in the statement here, referring to the Government decisions.
“Ladakh’s emergence as UT is to be welcomed…The gender discrimination in Article 35 A needed to be addressed as also the long awaited enfranchisement of West Pakistan refugees and reservation for Scheduled Tribes will be welcomed,” said Karan Singh, son of a former J&K ruler, the late Maharaja Hari Singh.
He also welcomed the fact that the bifurcation of the State meant there will be delimitation in future. “There will be a fresh delimitation which, for the first time, will ensure fair division of political power between the Jammu and Kashmir regions.”
As Karan Singh broadly backed the fresh developments in the state, of which he was the first and the last Sadr-e-Riyasat, he refrained from directly opposing or backing the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which repealed J&K’s special status.
He called for a political dialogue in the Valley and said the two main parties-People’s Democratic Party and National Conference-of Kashmir should not be called “anti-nationals”.
“This is the beginning of a new era for all of us in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The full integration of J&K State into the Union of India and its reorganisation, is indeed a step I fully support. Now, women and minority communities in J&K will enjoy equal rights under the Constitution of India.
“Us citizens of Jammu and Kashmir must now co-exist as equal partners and use this change as an opportunity to create a better future for the coming generations. I look forward towards a new J&K with a progressive and peaceful environment, with greater business and industrial development, private investment and greater employment opportunities for our youth. I would eventually hope to see a full Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir,” Vikramaditya said in a separate statement.
He also said he endorses the views expressed by his father Karan Singh.
Former Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh earlier acknowledged that the “unusually fast developments in Parliament caught everyone by surprise” but that these moves appear to enjoy overwhelming support across the country.
“The drastic measure appears to enjoy overwhelming support of Parliament as well as around the country including Jammu and Ladakh. I have been pondering deeply over the situation. Personally, I don’t agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments,” Singh said in a signed statement.
He said the creation of Ladakh as UT was something he suggested way back in 1965 as the Sadr-e-Riyasat.
“With regard to Kashmir, where a broad spectrum of people may be feeling mortified, I feel it is important for the political dialogue to continue. It is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being anti-national. I would urge that leaders of legitimate political parties in Kashmir be released and a broad-based political dialogue initiated with them,” the former Congress Minister said.
He also said efforts should be made to restore full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible so that “people can at least enjoy political rights available to the rest of the country”.
Singh recalled his father Hari Singh’s decision to sign the Instrument of Accession with India in 1947 and said, “My sole concern is the welfare of all sections of people in the State.”
The statements by these Congress leaders and the erstwhile royal family that once ruled Jammu and Kashmir came after a host of party leaders went against the party’s stand on J&K while welcoming the Government’s step in bifurcating the State and abrogating provisions of Article 370.