Waiting for restoration of statehood, J&K’s identity: Azad

Waiting for restoration of statehood, J&K’s identity: Azad
He said that the decision taken on 5 August 2019 only caused harm and brought no advantages.Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday slammed the Centre for “disintegrating J&K and stripping it of its unique identity”.

Addressing a rally of Congress workers at Dayalachak in Kathua, Azad said, “By spreading falsehood, they not only disintegrated J&K but also snatched its identity. This government separated J&K and Ladakh which even the British could not muster the courage to do.”

Stressing that this was saddening, he said, “I had tried to counter their false narrative even in the Parliament. The only heartening aspect was that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister on the floor of the House and later in the All Party Meeting reiterated their promise to restore statehood to J&K. We are waiting for that to happen and get our identity back.”

“This state spread to over 2 lakh sq km came into being in 1846. Its borders were extended to the far-off places, which were earlier not part of it. For that, I extend kudos to the Maharaja of that time and General Zorawar Singh. In the last 30-31 years, J&K was behind because of militancy. Thousands of youth, Army, and Police personnel lost their lives.

Previous regimes contributed their bit to develop it. Sadly J&K disintegrated and its identity was snatched by creating a false narrative that the outsiders could not buy land here and that SCs and STs were deprived of their rights,” he said.

The former chief minister said, “There would not have been 13,000 industries in Jammu, Samba, and Kathua had the previous regimes not allowed the industrialists to set up big projects here. What they promised while snatching what we had is still invisible. They could not generate employment. They could not bring industrialists from across the world for investment in J&K. However, 750 of the existing industries were closed in the last two and a half years.”

He said that the decision taken on 5 August 2019 only caused harm and brought no advantages.

Enumerating achievements during his tenure as the chief minister, Azad said, “We cleared the backlog vis-à-vis development infrastructure and also in case of employment in three shifts during my tenure.”

He also defended the Roshni Act by drawing its parallel with the ‘Forest Rights Act’ brought by UPA-II and said that the former (Roshni Act) was brought to help the poor in the wider interest of J&K citizens.

“The population of J&K has increased to 1.20 crore. A growing population needs everything. They need land, employment, and all basic amenities as their democratic right,” he said.

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