NC for retention of Statehood to J&K

NC provincial president Devendra Singh Rana flanked by senior party leaders speaking to media in Jammu on Wednesday. Aman

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana on Wednesday appealed to the Jammu based political class, civil society, prominent citizens, academia, legal fraternity, intellectuals, media, trade, commerce and industry to make a joint appeal to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narinder Modi and above all to the Parliament, the highest temple of Indian democracy, for retention of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, a proud legacy bequeathed by the Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh.
“Let’s all rise above political affiliations and party ideologies and give vent to the legitimate aspirations of people before the country’s leadership as a single entity in the larger interest of Jammu, which is psychologically feeling a sense of loss on the impending downgrading of the State as a Union Territory”, Rana here told reporters.
Urging political class of Jammu, including the BJP, the Congress, the JKNPP and the CPI, to rise to the occasion and make a strong pitch for retention of the Statehood, a historical feat achieved by the visionary Maharaja Gulab Singh two centuries ago after enormous sacrifices.
He said the history stands testimony to the great role played by Jammu for retaining pristine glory of the state of Jammu and Kashmir during most testing times, especially in early nineties by embracing the people in distress from the Kashmir Valley and parts of the Doda region, irrespective of religion.
“It is because of these sacrifices and selfless contribution of Dogras, J&K has all along shined as jewel in the crown of India”, he maintained.
“Today, when Jammu is at the crossroads of its history, we invoke the conscience of our Parliament and the political leadership to revisit the decision”, the Provincial President said, adding that mere thought of being known as residents of the Union Territory is depressing.
He said the people of Jammu have shown their resentment to downgrading of Statehood in the recently held elections to Block Development Councils.
“How can the inheritors of Maharaja Gulab Singh’s glorious legacy be marginalized or downgraded”, Rana said.
He acknowledged that the demands for Union Territory to Ladakh Region and separate Statehood to the Jammu Region were being raised from time to time but reducing the bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory was beyond anybody’s imagination and comprehension.
At the same time, he also referred to the unequivocal commitment of National Conference towards single entity of Jammu and Kashmir State and equal opportunities of progress, development and employment to all in all the regions of the state.
To a question, Rana said Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall remain integral part of India. He said this formed the preamble of the Constitution of the State.
Replying to another question on abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and Article 35A, Rana said the call on these measures and the future roadmap of National Conference will be drawn by the Working Committee after the party President Dr Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah are released from detention.