Reducing J&K from State to UT was insult to its people: Azad

Ghulam Nabi Azad
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

SRINAGAR — The former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir affiliated with different political parties including National Conference (NC) Patron Dr. Farooq Abdullah and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday addressed media persons jointly at Abdullah’s Gupkar residence.

Azad went to Abdullah’s residence in the afternoon, a day after the NC patron and incumbent Parliamentarian was released from the seven-month-long detention at his home.

Azad, who arrived in Kashmir today, said that the key of development for Jammu and Kashmir is not in putting the leaders here in detention, but the mission can only be carried out after the leaders are released and a political process is initiated.

Abdullah didn’t talk to media persons, but said that he spoke to the media persons yesterday and will allow only Azad to speak.

Talking to media persons, Azad said, “It is the happiest moment for him that after seven months, he has met the NC leader Farooq Abdullah who remained under detention for over seven months. Even after Farooq Sahab was released, we still don’t know the reasons behind putting him under detention.”

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He added that detention is for those who violate the laws and are involved in anti-national and anti-government activities. “But, in wake of abrogation of Article 370, many leaders irrespective of their affiliation with any party were put under detention. Therefore, there is no question of any violation by these leaders,” he said.

He said that he met Farooq Abdullah as being a friend, a leader from the other party and also on behalf of those who raised voice against the detention of these leaders since August last year either in Parliament or at different platforms. “The love and friendship with Abdullah was the reason behind meeting him today,” he said, adding that he has informed him about the developments that took place during the period of his detention.

“I know what difficulties you have faced,” Azad told Abdullah in front of media persons, adding that “keeping in view of his age and health, putting Abdullah under detention was nothing but excess from the government.”

He, however, said that the development in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be carried out by putting the leaders under detention, but can only be proceeded after the leaders are released and a political process is initiated.

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“With the initiation of political process, the elections should also be held and those who will be elected by the people can take decisions regarding development in a better way,” he said.

He added that in the last three years, all the development process in Jammu and Kashmir has come to a grinding halt and with this, the locals are suffering, adding that almost every sector including tourism, handicraft and others not only in Kashmir but in Jammu too has got badly affected.

Azad said that all this damage can be repaired by releasing these leaders and initiating a political process. He also demanded restoration of Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, saying that J&K was the only State, which was never merged with any other State as it was a big State as compared to others.

The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said that carving the erstwhile J&K State into the Union Territory was an insult to the people living here.

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