Concluding her four-day visit to J&K to assess the situation post 5 August 2019, senior Congress leader Rajni Patil on Tuesday said Article 370 was abolished in "undemocratic, unilateral and unconstitutional way."
She said that the statehood must be restored to the region, even as she found 'gloom among the masses' over the Union Government's last year's decision.
Former Parliamentarian from Maharashtra, who was recently appointed by Congress as J&K in-charge of the party's affairs, Patil addressed a presser along with J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir and other senior party leaders at its headquarters at MA Road here.
"On 5th August 2019, an undemocratic, unilateral and unconstitutional way was adopted to abolish Article 370. I think it is essential to restore statehood, since wherever I went all people are angry and anguished; there is sadness that their statehood must be given back to them," she said.
Patil arrived in J&K on October 10 and is scheduled to leave back for Delhi on October 14.
She said she found gloom among people, who are apprehensive about losing their land and jobs, following the Narendra Modi government's decision.
Replying to a question that the Modi government has been claiming that "era of prosperity and development" has been ushered in J&K following its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and subsequent downgrading of the state into two Union Territories, Patil said "situation is entirely different."
"It is a part of what Modiji has been proclaiming through hundreds of his sentences. This sentence is a part of it. If they will not understand the situation right now, they will not understand it ever. Reality on ground is totally different. People are sad," said Patil.
She added she was surprised that there was no discussion on the issue even in Parliament.
"A unilateral decision was taken and it is for the first time we have seen a full fledged state was changed to UT, otherwise it is UT which is usually upgraded to a state. There is anger among people about it. People have apprehensions regarding jobs. If people from outside will be able to get jobs, where will people here go to do jobs. There is fear about it," she said.
She said during her visit she interacted with people from almost all sectors and understood that people here have apprehensions that they might lose their land to outsiders.
"People here also want that it is they who should have rights over the land. The status they had got earlier. I was earlier in-charge of party affairs in Himachal Pradesh, where people have got this special status as well," she said.
She said she also found that there is a dire need to restore high speed internet in J&K, especially in a pandemic time when students are attaining their education globally through online mode.
"If there is no 4G, then how will students be able to get education? This is a big question and an important issue for us," she said.
She said she also met Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and the party is going to vouch for their rights.