Downgrading J&K into UT subversion of federalism: Altaf Bukhari

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party President, Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday said bifurcation of the state of J&K into two Union territories was “subversion of the principle of federalism” which respects the autonomy of the states. “It is an undeniable reality that the developments which took place in August last year, particularly the deprivation of statehood to J&K has badly affected self-esteem, pride and confidence of people across Jammu and Kashmir,” said Bukhari, in an interview with Greater Kashmir.

On August 5 last year, the government of India abrogated Articles 370 and 35A, and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, J&K and Ladakh, under J&K Re-Organisation Act-2019. “Downgrading J&K state into a Union Territory is a subversion of the principle of federalism that respects the autonomy of the states. Even the Union territories with elected Legislature do not have complete autonomy,” said Bukhari.

He said the August 5 moves “baffled me a lot.” “This was an unprecedented move. Usually the trend has been to turn a Union territory into a state, thereby bridging the gap between the administration and the people and to reduce the direct central hand in day-to-day management of state affairs,” said Bukhari.

Over the past few months, Bukhari has been demanding restoration of the statehood to J&K and early conduct of the elections. According to Bukhari, he even raised these demands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he led a party delegation for meeting with him in New Delhi.  The former finance minister, Bukhari said the August 5 moves have not only resulted into a complete breakdown of the political institutions but have also stalled the result oriented and purposeful developmental activity.

“There is a sense of intense discontentment on one side and an attitude of complete indifference on the other side, which at any cost, can’t be left unattended and unaddressed,” said Bukhari. “This is why restoration of statehood to J&K forms the core of our party agenda and we are hopeful that the leadership of our country will surely fulfill its promise on the subject made on the floor of Parliament, very soon.”