JAMMU, Apr 11: Ridiculing the demand for restoration of pre-1953 autonomy of J&K, the former Union Minister, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta termed it as misnomer and obnoxious. No right thinking person, he said can think even to have those black days back as much water has flown in Jehlum and Chenab during past over six decades.
In a statement issued here, today Prof Gupta said that prior to 1953, there was no jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Election Commission and even that of Comptroller and Auditor General of India in this State. There was a strange dispensation and new rulers were totalitarian. The extent of intolerance could be gauged that great visionary Dogra leader, Pt. Prem Nath Dogra who organized a nationalist party, Praja Parishad, with a democratic outlook, was not only arrested but also shifted to Srinagar jail to face the vagaries of severe Winter for months together. His supporters were put to torture but for satyagrah to seek the release of Pt. Dogra and others who were jailed without any trial, he added.
Several youth were shot dead while trying to hoist the Tricolor, he recalled and pointed out that in the absence of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the towering opposition leader of Parliament, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji was arrested for entering the State without “Permit” and detained in Srinagar, where he died in mysterious circumstances but no enquiry was held despite the demand of his aged mother as also by the CM of Bengal, B.C Roy.
Prof Gupta also recalled that the Maharaja of the State, Hari Singh was forced to live and die in exile at Mumbai, away from his people, although he had signed the Instrument of Accession by virtue of which J&K come became the legal entity of Indian Union. Maharaja Hari Singh was made to stay away as he was opposed to cease fire, especially when the Indian forces were marching fast in liberating the Pak held areas and the invaders were on the run.
In the absence of the jurisdiction of Election Commission of India, the Assembly elections were held in an arbitrary manner. There was no proper delimitation of the constituencies. Jammu was not given due representation and in the House of 75 members as many as 72 were declared elected “unopposed” and thus there was no member of the opposition, he added.
Prof. Gupta also pointed out that there was no financial integration and prior to that the entire State budget was confined to just Rs five crore per annum.