Reflecting the on-going churn in Congress on abrogation of Art 370, senior party leader Karan Singh on Thursday said that he does not agree with a "blanket condemnation" of various developments in Jammu and Kashmir as he feels there are "several positive points" too.
In a statement, he stated that the "unusually fast decisions" taken in Parliament regarding Jammu and Kashmir "will obviously have far-reaching implications at many levels".
"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 do not agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments. There are several positive points," said Singh, the son of Maharaja Hari Singh, who had signed the instrucment of accesssion with India.
Singh joins the debate within the Congress party some of whose young leaders have broadly welcomed the actions taken by the Modi government though they have criticised the speed with which they were taken and lack of consultations with the local people.
He said that Ladakh's emergence as a Union Territory is to be welcomed.
"In fact, I had suggested this as far back as 1965 when I was still Sadar-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir when I had publically proposed reorgsation of the state. I hope the Hill Councils of Leh and Kargil will continue to function so that in the absence of a legislature the grass-roots opinion of the people of Ladakh are duly represented," he said.
He went to add that the "gender discrimination in Article 35A needed to be addressed as also the long-awaited enfranchisement of lakhs of West Pakistan refugees and reservations for Scheduled Tribes which will be welcomed."
"There will also be a fresh delimitation which, for the first time, will ensure a fair division of political power between the Jammu and Kashmir regions," Singh said.Without naming National Conference and PDP, Singh said that it is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being "anti-national" and urged that the "leaders of legitimate political parties in Kashmir should be released as soon as possible".
"With regard to Kashmir, where a broad spectrum of people may be feeling mortified, I feel that it is important for the political dialogue to continue. It is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being anti-national. Their workers have over the years made heavy sacrifices and besides both of them have been from time to time political allies of national parties and governments at the Centre and in the state," he said.
"I would, therefore, urge that leaders of legitimate political parties in Kashmir should be released as soon as possible and a broad-based political dialogue initiated with them and with civil society in view of the drastically changed situation. At all costs, communal harmony should be maintained and violence eschewed. The effort should be that Jammu and Kashmir attains full statehood as soon as possible so that its people can at least enjoy the political rights available to the rest of the country," he added.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah were taken under preventive arrest after the Centre scrapped Article 370.
Singh said that his "sole concern is to further the welfare of all sections and regions of the state."
Both Houses of the Parliament have passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorgsation) Bill, 2019, with 370 votes in favour and 70 against it. The Bill converts Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature and Ladakh without legislature.
A resolution revoking Article 370 has also got the Parliament's nod.
( With inputs from ANI )