SRINAGAR: Ahead of the first anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories (UTs), state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir described revocation of the constitutional provision as “worst-ever decision" and demanded that J&K’s statehood with constitutional guarantees be restored.
Talking to TNIE, Mir said Congress would fight for the restoration of state with constitutional guarantees.
Asked what he meant by constitutional guarantees, he said, “J&K had got special status and that should be restored. We want it back. J&K parties should be consulted and taken into confidence on what kind of constitutional guarantees should be provided to J&K”.
“But unfortunately, Government of India has not taken any call in this regard so far,” Mir said.
The National Conference leader and former CM Omar Abdullah had announced that he would not contest elections till statehood to J&K was restored.
On August 5 last year, Centre scrapped Article 370 and split J&K into two UTs -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“The Modi government had told the Parliament that revocation of Article 370 will lead to an increase in employment in J&K. How much employment has increased…. In fact, jobs have been snatched from many,” he said.
The J&K Congress chief said Centre had also said militancy will be controlled.
“Everybody knows what was the situation in 2019 and how it (militancy) is now”.
Mir said the Modi government had claimed that trade would increase and new avenues will be opened in the education sector. “The reality is that trade has been badly hit since August 5, 2019, while all educational institutions are closed for the last 11 months. Even nursery classes have not opened”.
After Article 370 revocation, the government imposed tough clampdown in J&K and suspended telecommunication and the internet. The high-speed internet has still not been restored in J&K.
On issuance of domicile certificates, Mir said, “We say state bifurcation was wrong and the State subject was pre-1947 law. It was introduced during Maharaja rule. They want to provide entry to lakhs of non-locals into J&K and how can we support and welcome such a decision”.
Referring to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s statement that political parties in J&K are shying away from doing politics, he said, “Madhav does not know the ground reality. He came in a helicopter and moved in a tight security cover. He feels that everybody is enjoying the same security cover. The mainstream opposition politicians are even not allowed to go for a condolence meeting”.
Mir said a Congress sarpanch was killed by militants on November 26 last year.
“I was in house arrest in Jammu and could not visit to offer my condolences. For the last two months, I have been staying in Srinagar. “I am not being allowed to visit the slain sarpanch’s family to express my condolences,” he said.
The Congress leader further said the government has withdrawn, de-categorised, and downgraded security of political leaders and workers of parties except BJP and another party.
“The BJP ex-MLAs who were legislators for one term are enjoying Z+, Z, and Y+ security while the security of former Congress ministers, who were four-time legislators, have been downgraded. The government has withdrawn all security of our vice-presidents, general secretaries, district presidents, and other office-bearers”.