Alienation Of Kashmiries Needs To Be Addressed: Rather14 February 2011
Srinagar: Senior National Conference leader and the Minister for Finance A R Rather has said that autonomy has remained, since the days of accession, the heart beat of the people of the State. “Today we find that the State has lost all semblances to autonomy. Its erosion is the primary cause for Kashmir discontent,” Rather said the two-day dialogue conference organized by Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation which welcomed the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. Fifty participants from both sides of Jammu and Kashmir attended the discussion, which ended in New Delhi on Monday. He said that the erosion of autonomy began after the unfortunate and un-constitutional dismissal and arrest of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah along with his associates in 1953 and it continued apace there after till the year 1975. He said that sooner the autonomy is restored, the better. He further said that alienation of the people of the State needs to be addressed urgently. This would be in the interest of the Nation. Rather said his National Conference wants restoration of autonomy in its pristine form consistent with Instrument of Accession, Constitution (Application to J&K) order, 1950 and Delhi Agreement of 1952. Rather added that uniquely, Jammu and Kashmir State is the only one to have negotiated the terms of its membership of the Union. “Right till the Delhi agreement of 1952, it did not accept any provisions of the constitution of India other than those agreed to in the Instrument of Accession and retained its autonomy but unfortunately even after the Constituent Assembly of the State dispersed and seized to exist, further powers continued to be extended to the Union which was against the scheme of Article 370 of the Indian constitution,” he said. When asked to respond to the demand of abrogation of article 370 by certain political parties, Rather said that those who ask for abrogation of this article are grossly mistaken. “The President of India could issue a notification abrogating or amending article 370 but it could only be done on the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State. The constituent Assembly completed its job long back in 1956 and then dispersed. It did not make any recommendation for abrogation of this article. So the abrogation of article 370 has now become a constitutionally impossible,” he said. It was agreed by the conference that both India and Pakistan should remove all the bottlenecks for smooth and efficient implementation of Jammu and Kashmir related Confidence Building Measures already initiated including trade and people to people contact. The conference urged release of all political prisoners and the youth who have been detained during the recent protests. “Human rights should be protected in all forms and the security forces must be sensitized about these rights in their approach to civilian population. Without prejudice to the political settlement of Kashmir problem, we suggest as a starting point that the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir in its original form should be restored,” members of the conference in a joint statement said.