Son of Kashmir’s Last Ruler Says Discrimination in 35A Had to End, Muftis & Abdullahs Not ‘Anti-National’
Former union minister, Congress leader and the last yuvraj of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Karan Singh, on Thursday said there should not be a blanket condemnation of the government’s Kashmir moves, but has urged for the urgent release of the leaders of mainstream political parties in the Valley.
Dr Singh, the son of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of J&K who acceded to the Union of India, said a broad-based dialogue must be initiated with all the stake holders and called for restoration of the “full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible”.
“It is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being anti-national. Their workers have over the years made heavy sacrifices and besides both of them have been form time to time been political allies of national parties,” Singh said in a statement.
“I would therefore urge leaders of legitimate political parties be released as soon as possible,” he added.
Dr Singh, who was the last Sadr-e-Riyasat of J&K, welcomed the creation of Ladakh as a separate union territory and he has supported the removal of certain provisions of Article 35A of the Constitution, which gave the state the power to define its permanent residents and gave the citizens some special rights and privileges, by the central government.
“The gender discrimination in Article 35A needed to be addressed as also the long awaited enfranchisement of the lakhs of West Pakistan refugees and reservations for scheduled tribes which will be welcomed,” he stated.
He also welcomed the fresh delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir, which he said for the first time will ensure a “fair division of political power between the Jammu and Kashmir regions.”
However, the statement is conspicuously ambiguous on his stand on Article 370, which was effectively scrapped by Parliament on Tuesday.