Karan Singh
File photo of Karan Singh | ThePrint photo by Manisha Mondal
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New Delhi: Taking a stand different from his party’s, veteran Congress leader Karan Singh on Thursday said he does not agree with a blanket condemnation of the government’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir and pointed out what he called were its several positives.

In a statement the “positive points” Singh counted included the Union Territory status for Ladakh, scrapping of Article 35 A, future delimitation of J&K as a result of the state’s bifurcation into UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

However, he did not comment directly on Article 370 and also called for releasing the leaders of legitimate political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and initiate a broad based political dialogue with them.

His statement comes two days after the Congress Working Committee deplored the manner in which the government stripped J&K of its special status by scrapping provisions of Article 370, and bifurcated the state.

“I personally do not agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments. There are several positive points,” Singh said in a statement here, referring to the government decisions.

“Ladakh’s emergence as UT is to be welcomed…The gender discrimination in Article 35 A needed to be addressed as also the long awaited enfranchisement of West Pakistan refugees and reservation for Scheduled Tribes will be welcomed,” said Singh, son of a former J&K ruler, late Maharaja Hari Singh.

He also welcomed the fact that the bifurcation of the state meant there will be delimitation in future. “There will be a fresh delimitation which, for the first time, will ensure and fair division of political power between the Jammu and Kashmir regions.”

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As Karan Singh broadly backed the fresh developments in the state, of which he was the first and the last Sadr-e-Riyasat, he refrained from directly opposing or backing the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which repealed J&K’s special status.

He called for a political dialogue in the Valley and said the two main parties — Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference — of Kashmir should not be called “anti-nationals”.

The former Rajya Sabha MP acknowledged that the “unusually fast developments in Parliament caught everyone by surprise” but that these moves appear to enjoy overwhelming support across the country.

“The drastic measure appears to enjoy overwhelming support of Parliament as well as around the country including Jammu and Ladakh. I have been pondering deeply over the situation. Personally, I don’t agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments,” Singh said in a signed statement.

He said the creation of Ladakh as UT was something he suggested way back in 1965 as the Sadr-e-Riyasat.

“With regard to Kashmir, where a broad spectrum of people may be feeling mortified, I feel it is important for the political dialogue to continue. It is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being anti-national. I would urge that leaders of legitimate political parties in Kashmir be released and a broad-based political dialogue initiated with them,” the former Congress minister said.

He also said efforts should be made to restore full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible so that “people can at least enjoy political rights available to the rest of the country”.

Singh recalled his father Hari Singh’s decision to sign the Instrument of Accession with India in 1947 and said, “My sole concern is the welfare of all sections of people in the state.”


Also read: Congress wasted a month pleading with Rahul, Karan Singh says, bats for young leaders


 

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6 Comments Share Your Views

6 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Everyone, including Congress leaders, have a right to be critical of action by PM Narendra Modi led NDA government as regards Articles 35A & 370 of our Constitution. However, I am glad to know that new generation of Congressmen are ready to reconsider their party’s stand on Kashmir. In this context my question is this: are the old generation Congressmen and those belonging to Gandhi family ready to have a fresh, unbiased look at how scenario in the Kashmir valley has changed during last three or four decades? 2. How can we overlook fact that terror activities in the Kashmir valley, sponsored by Pakistan’s ISI and its governments from time to time, have destabilized ordinary life in the valley? 3. Let us also not overlook fact that ever since 1948 Pakistan has made unending violent efforts to create disturbances in the valley. Here, bitter truth is that the Pakistani establishment, (be its army or its intelligent wing, ISI who have funded Pakistan based terror outfits), has never been held accountable by those who claim to plead for Kashmir’s autonomy. 4. Kashmir’s politicians do not know that by joining hands with the Pakistan based Islamic fundamentalists they (politicians) are playing with fire. 5. I wish Kashmir’s discredited political leaders realize and realize sooner than later, that Pakistan’s love for Kashmir cleverly conceals Pakistani agenda- not of according azadi to the Kashmiris but of making them unwanted citizens of an Islamic state called Pakistan.

  2. THE Most Reasoned comment from the late maharaja’s son and one of the most seasoned Congress Leader. Now Gulam Nabi Azad’s statement is basically undone saying that those welcoming the Govt decision do not know the history of Congress and that of J&K. As it is this has now come as one may say from the horse’s mouth, the one who was there in making the history of Congress. The statement of Karan Singh ji is balanced and matured taking care of both the govt and the popular mood of the country.
    Karan Singh ji is also too reasoned when he says that a broad dialogue must start with the political despansation and communications and liberties restored as soon as possible. When he says that “My sole concern is the welfare of all sections of people in the state”, Karan Singh ji appears to welcome the spirit of the Govt move and hopes the statehood to be restored for J&K early, a point which the Home Minister too made in no uncertain terms.
    Now the basic point is to break the stalemate in a decent way and commence efforts of taking the state on board by the Govt. The sooner it is initiated is better for all of us. Restoring communication channels is most important and sensitive too. Govt indication of restoring land lines is welcome. Restoring mobile connectivity is a trivial issue given the apprehensions of spreading rumours on social media. But this also can not be delayed too much. Govt machinery taking the lead at social media may help people understand the equity of the decision taken. Govt PR and communications with the public at large is hugely required. The NC and PDP , Dr Singh says should not be termed as anti Nationals – it has too much of essence of the reconciliation with the two Regional Parties having considerable support base in the valley. Both the parties have been supported by the Congress and the BJP too in the past and thus are potential partners to keep the ball rolling in right direction. BJP, for the time being, should refrain from its own power ambitions and be impartial and look to be honest in keeping the people at the centre of the schemes. BJP and it’s Govt has already achieved the agenda politically and has made the respectable mark in the history of the country. It has to now prove its intent and proceed to take along the people at large with them keeping aside partisan ambitions. The local BJP has to take the lead of going to the people in the valley at all the remote corners of the state explaining the spirit of the decision and making people aware and commit them to greater opportunities and liberties. The other parties and individual leaders may also be roped in to travel to the state and explain their positions. Even the Congress Leaders supporting the spirit of the decision may be of emmence help. An all party committee may also be formed to oversee the ground work and may be empowered to carry out implementations of the Govt initiatives.
    The Panchayats may prove to be of much help if they are taken on board. The Govt must have been pondering over a lot to make the huge beginning with a fresh start. The great decision should be seen as erasing and healing the past wounds inflicted from whatever quarters.
    The nuisance from across the boarder too may increase and the Govt has a huge task to make the local people aware and prepared to deal with in an effective and prudent manner. That the NSA has taken the lead to be already there with the people is really heartening to note. The huge support that the Govt has across political spectrum is a great force and strength and the Govt is very well placed to go ahead with remarkable roadmap of growth and development of the people at large.
    One vital point of restraint would be not to take this a victory or loss game. This is not victory of anyone against anyone rather a great Win Win for all of us, even if some of us may not agree with the ways the things have been done. Ultimately, it appears that even the Congress at large is not averse to the spirit of the decision but only has reservations about the way this has been done. Let there be respect for their opinion too and let them too take part in making the scheme work great.
    The vested interests would try hard to make their space and this has to be resolutely curbed and dealt with most firmly. Most importantly and dangerously, even the communal colours may be resorted to and all efforts have to be taken to shun it completely.
    These are the times of great beginning from the stretch and naturally there would be roadblocks and obstructions. With calm but firm mood the situation is to be handled. A proverb of Kashmir to Kanyakumari has become really true and all of us have to make it really look beautiful and remarkable. In the times to come Kashmiries should feel proud to have been taken up on board with all of us in equal terms!

  3. As Karan Singh says, restarting dialog with leaders of existing major parties in the Valley and Jammu will be a key, as well as working towards restoring statehood sometime in the future.
    BJP triumphalism may come in the way of these suggestions.

    Congress , for its part has condemned the manner of scrapping 370 , and not the idea itself.

  4. Dr Farooq Abdullah would have made a fine Vice President. I don’t think any member of the Rajya Sabha would have had a problem with him. Dr Karan Singh was of presidential timber.

    • Individual wish need not be national wish. Farooq is neither Kalam, nor Karan had his capability to become CM of his own state, forget about President of India. He lived at the mercy of his party, not the other way around.

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