Calling off Amarnath yatra unprecedented: Karan Singh

He said the government has not given any concrete reason behind its decision asking the pilgrims and tourists to return.
Calling off Amarnath yatra unprecedented: Karan Singh
File Photo

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Karan Singhon Saturday referred to his last week's interview to IANS over the issue ofArticle 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir advising the government to treadcarefully and hit out at the Centre for curtailing the Amarnath Yatra oversecurity threat, saying it was "unprecedented".

Addressing a pres conference at the party headquarters,Karan Singh said: "In my 70 years of public life, I have never seen asituation like this in J&K where even the Amarnath Yatra had to be calledoff. This will leave a deep impact on Lord Shiva's devotees, who have come fromall parts of the country. This is unprecedented."

He said the government has not given any concrete reasonbehind its decision asking the pilgrims and tourists to return.

"An atmosphere of fear and apprehension has seized theKashmir valley today as everybody there is in state of panic worrying if therewould be any attack or something else. In the last few days, over 30,000 additionaltroops have been sent there," he said.

Slamming the government, the Congress leader said, "Icannot see a worse situation in the state. The lives of thousands of Kashmiripeople is linked with the Amarnath Yatra. Today's situation being created in Jammuand Kashmir will eventually lead to the end of all development works in thestate. There will be severe financial losses."

"This is the state with which I have been attached forthe last 88 years, as here I was born. I don't know why such a condition isbeing created," he said.

He said the closure of Amarnath Yatra in this way is notgood.

His remarks came a day after the state home departmentadvised Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to immediately rush back home. Theannual Hindu pilgrimage was scheduled to end on August 15.

Speaking over the other issues such as Article 370 and 35A,Karan Singh said: "I am sharing the copy of the statement I gave toIANS."

Last week, the senior Congress leader in an interview toIANS on the future course of action for the state which requires an urgentsalve and a resolution, said, "Let me start by saying that the accessionis final and irrevocable, nowhere am I questioning its 'wajood' (existence).This accession has been confirmed and validated by the J&K ConstituentAssembly which lies dissolved, so there can be no questions asked about itsveracity. Legally, morally and constitutionally, the state is part of theIndian sovereign. However, on Article 370 and 35A, I would advise extremecaution: tread carefully for there are legal, political, constitutional andemotional factors involved which should be thoroughly assessed, I think that isfair warning."

On being pressed further, he argued that, "There arefour critical dimensions to this problem. For starters there is aninternational dimension with 45 per cent of the original state's area and 30per cent of its population (as of October 26, 1947) having been sliced awayover the years. Remember that both Pakistan and China are sitting in ourterritory. We may live in denial and every once in a while talk of PakistanOccupied Kashmir, but there is also Gilgit, Baltistan and the NorthernTerritories, the largely inhabited Aksai Chin and Shaksgam and Yarkand RiverValleys which run adjacent to the Trans Karakoram Tract which have been loppedoff.

"In fact, till 1963, the last part was considered partof J&K by Pakistan. It is easy to say 'Kashmir hamara hai', but for 50years I have stayed in Delhi and not once have I seen the 'dard' (pain) of thishapless and star-crossed state in Delhi and India. Only lip service has beenoffered instead."

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