Autonomy tops NC agenda: Farooq
28 March 2000
Jammu: The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah declared in the legislative Assembly today that the autonomy is very vital for Jammu and Kashmir and the issue still figured high on the agenda of the State Government. Replying to a question of Mr Prithvi Chand which was raised by Mr Ashok Khajuria, the Chief Minister said that the autonomy report, raises certain fundamental issues about the constitutional framework of relations of the J&K State with the Centre. So there is need for dialogue with the Central Government and enlightened sections of society within and elsewhere in the country. He said the National Conference party fought elections in 1996 mainly on the promise of greater autonomy and got people''s mandate for it. The poll verdict of the people was also fully in favour of grant of more autonomy to the Jammu and Kashmir. ''Our party got two - third majority in the Legislative Assembly on this very issue and now this issue cannot be wished away, irrespective of the opposition it faces'', he emphasised. ''We have been discussing this issue ever since 1983 and there was nothing new in our demand''. Dr Abdullah said endeavours are being made to publicise the report widely after its tabling in the State Legislature. While the Chief Minister was making remarks on the issue, he was supported by the National Conference (NC) Legislators by thumping of desks. On the other hand, Legislators of Bharatiya Party including Mr Piara Singh, Mr Ashok Khajuria and Mr Chuni Lal were seen criticising from their respective seats displeased over the reply of the Chief Minister. BJP legislator Mr Ashok Khajuria in a supplementary asked the Chief Minister whether in view of explosive nature of the Autonomy report, State Government would shelve it, Dr Abdullah said there are no dangerous portents in the report. Meanwhile, before the inception of Question Hour, NC Legislator from Bandipora, Mr Ghulam Rasool Naaz got off his seat and demanded a statement from the Home Minister over the killing of three civilians in a grenaded attack by militants at Nowpora in Bandipora town. Reacting to the views of the Legislators, the Speaker, Mr Abdul Ahad Vakil directed the Home Minister, Mr Mushtaq Ahmed Lone to make a detailed statement on the issue. Subsequently, the BJP Legislators were also seen protesting against some reports in a section of press. However, the Chair chose to go ahead with the Question Hour ignoring the pleas of the MLAs.