Former Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked the Indian government to bring a bill in the upper house of its parliament proposing restoration of statehood for the disputed Himalayan region.
Speaking during the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, Azad, who is the leader of India’s Opposition in the upper house, said, “I appeal to you, if Jammu and Kashmir has to progress and if we have to fight our enemies at the borders, we need to take our own people into confidence and give them love.”
The Congress leader said the Narendra Modi government should “bring a bill in the House and statehood to be restored”, adding that legislative assembly elections must be held after statehood is restored for Indian-administered Kashmir.
He said any measure that upsets the people residing in the Northeast and border areas, including Kashmir, Ladakh and Punjab, should not be taken.
Referring to former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Azad said she taught him that “we cannot fight on multiple fronts with Pakistan and China”.
The Congress leader claimed that the people of Kashmir are not happy as outsiders can now buy their land and work there, unlike in the past.
Arguing against Kashmir being converted into a Union Territory, he also claimed that the law and order situation in Kashmir was 100 times better when it was a state as compared to now, militancy was at its lowest and development works were at their best, irrespective of whichever government was in power in the state.
“Transporters, Shopkeepers, and unemployed youth in Jammu are disappointed. No one in Ladakh, Kashmir, and Jammu are happy with the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir was not the only place across India enjoying special provisions, he said, adding that no one can buy land in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Northeast, and the land of SC and ST was protected and it wasn’t in J&K only rather across India.
“If Jammu and Kashmir have to progress and if the borders have to be protected, the government needs to win the confidence of people and treat them with love and care,” he said. “I end my speech by asking the Prime Minister to restore the Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and conduct the elections in the UT at earliest,” he added