Downgrading JK from a State to UT an insult to its people: Azad

Meets Farooq at Gupkar residence, demands leaders be released, political process must for repairing damage

Srinagar, Mar 14 : Congress big-wig and the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that downgrading erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UTs) was an insult to the people living in J&K.

According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Azad made this statement soon after meeting National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah, who was released on Friday after over seven month long detention. Sitting besides, Dr Farooq at this Gupkar residence, Azad while addressing media persons said that the key of development for Jammu and Kashmir doesn’t lie in putting the leaders here in detention, but the mission can only be achieved after the leaders are released and a political process is initiated.

Abdullah didn’t address media stating that he has already spoken to media yesterday and its Azad’s turn today.

Azad said that it’s the happiest moment for him that after seven months, he has met the NC leader Farooq Abdullah who remained under detention for over seven months. “Even after Farooq Sahab was released, we still don’t know the reasons behind putting him under detention,” he said.

He added that detention is for those who violate the laws and are involved in anti-national and anti-government activities. “But, in wake of abrogation of Article 370, many leaders irrespective of their affiliation with any party were put under detention. Therefore, there is no question of any violation by these leaders,” he said.

As per—KNO, he said that he met Farooq Abdullah as being a friend, a leader from the other party and also on behalf of those who raised voice against the detention of these leaders since August last year either in parliament or at different platforms. “The love and friendship with Abdullah was the reason behind meeting him today,” he said, adding that he has informed him about the developments that take place during the period of his detention.

“I know what difficulties he (Dr Farooq) has faced,” Azad said in an apparent reference to NC patron, adding that “keeping in view of his age and health, putting Abdullah under detention nothing but excess from the government.”

The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said that slicing the erstwhile J&K State into two UT’s was “an insult to the people living here.”

He, however, said that the development in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be carried out by putting the leaders under detention, but can only proceeded only after the leaders are released and a political process is initiated.

“With the initiation of political process, the elections should also be held and those who will be elected by the people can take decision regarding development in a better way,” he said.

He added that in last three years, all the development process in Jammu and Kashmir has come to a grinding halt and with this, the locals are sufferings, adding that almost every sector including tourism, handicraft others not only in Kashmir but in Jammu too has got badly affected.

Azad said all this damage can be repaired by releasing these leaders and initiating a political process. He also demanded restoration of Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, saying that J&K was the only State, which was never merged with any other State as it was big State as compared to others—