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‘Don’t make Kashmir guinea pig for experiments’: Azad shreds Modi govt in Parliament

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said that the merging of the civil services cadre clearly indicates that the Indian government’s does not plan to restore statehood to the disputed region.

Azad, who is the leader of India’s Opposition, while addressing the upper house of the Parliament said that the Jammu and Kashmir in the past three years remained under Governor rule and now Lieutenant Governor. “When the J&K cadre was already operational what is the need to merge this if the government want to restore the statehood in the next few months. It indicates that Modi government wants J&K to be a Union Territory permanently,” the Congress leader said. 

Azad said that at the time of abrogation of Article 370, some reasons were given including no development, lack of industries, and land to the businessmen who don’t visit the region but with the abrogation development will take place. 

The senior Congress leader said that the industries don’t go to Kashmir given the winter for six months and being a remote place. “Seven out of 10 districts in Jammu have no industry. No new industry is coming up while the 60 per cent of the industries are closed and the development is on TV only,” he said.

He said that roads are dilapidated. “National highway is in worse condition remaining shut for four months (in a year). There is an increase in border firing during which people suffer huge losses,” he said.

The former chief minister said that the employed have become unemployed while the unemployment graph has increased but if the elected government was there, situation would have been better. “It is important to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir”, he said.

He said that nothing was left in Article 370 other than no job for the outsider and no one could buy land in Jammu and Kashmir and these provisions existed since Maharaja Hari Singh back in 1925, years before the Indian independence. “In Jammu and Kashmir, there are only mountains and forests and the land is very little”, he said.

He further said that due to the uncertainty, no industry has come up in J&K. “Give statehood to J&K. Conduct elections. J&K is a border area where tension looms large”, Azad said. 

“Don’t make Kashmir guinea pig for experiments”, he said and ended his speech with an Urdu verse hoping that in the next budget session of the Indian Parliament statehood bill for Jammu and Kashmir is introduced”

India’s upper house or the Rajya Sabha on Monday cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to replace the ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of civil services officer with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.

The bill was introduced in the Upper House of the Parliament last week and it was approved with voice vote before Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

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