[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ORMER Sadr-e-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir and veteran Congress leader, Dr Karan Singh has called for the release of all political leaders and initiation of dialogue in the wake of the Centre’s move to scrap special Constitutional provisions with regard to the state.
He said it would have been better had Jammu and Kashmir remained a state but since it has been declared as a Union Territory, the decision has to be accepted with a “positive mindset”.
In a TV interview, Dr Singh described the central government’s decision as “startling and sudden” as the bill and resolution on abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A besides bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, were passed by the Parliament within two days.
He said the people needed time to come to the terms with the new developments.
“However, since it has happened (the declaration of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory), we have to go ahead and accept it with positive mindset,” Dr Singh said, adding that he has his own and independent views on the issue.
He reiterated his statement given a few days after the government’s decision that he doesn’t accept the blanket condemnation of the move.
However, Dr Singh said, “it would have been better had Jammu and Kashmir remained a state but let’s hope it comes back as full-fledged States as announced by some of the ruling party leaders.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised statehood to Jammu and Kashmir once normalcy returned to the state.
Dr Singh called for political dialogue and release of all political leaders arrested or detained in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the Centre’s move.
On a Union Ministers’ statement that talks with Pakistan will be held only on Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) now, he said: “When you talk to Pakistan, you obviously have to talk about the entire state”. However, he cautioned that certain statements of central BJP leaders could also heighten confrontation with Pakistan.
Dr Singh said though there was a lot of talent among the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, they faced unemployment. He expressed hope that once industries come to the state, the youth will get better opportunities and employment.
“In the long run, it would be of great advantage to the state,” he asserted.
Dr Singh said all three regions of the state had different aspirations. While people of Ladakh have their own aspirations, Jammu has Dogra identity and the Kashmir valley has a special identity of language and culture, he added.