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Greater autonomy only solution to Kashmir issue: NC

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, Mar 26: Demanding the restoration of the pre-1953 status of Jammu and Kashmir, the main opposition in the state National Conference today (Mar 26, 2006) said greater autonomy was the only way to resolve the Kashmir issue.

During the pre-1953 phase external affairs, currency and defence was with the Centre and rest of the administration rested with the state government.

Autonomy, as it was enjoyed by the people of the Jammu and Kashmir at the time of joining the Indian union, was the ''first and final'' solution to the vexed issue, a party spokesman said.

He said NC president Omar Abdullah during his recent tour to Pakistan has discussed the autonomy issue with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

It has generated a debate in the state and people are supporting it, he claimed adding the NC has been demanding restoration of the greater autonomy to the state.

Without referring to self rule concept, being discussed by some separatist organisations and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he said one may call it by any name, the sum and substance of the peoples demand is in favour of ''independence of the State within prescribed framework,'' to which India herself has been a signatory.

Pakistan too has now shown a shift from its previous policy, thus removal of some serious impediments has been effected, he said.

Again without naming anyone the spokesman said that the present political scenario has exposed the ''gimmicks'' of the groups and individuals, who have masterminded the conspiracies causing erosions in the independent set up of governance in the State and have also bartered constitutional rights of the State subjects for serving their personal interests.

''Such groups and individuals are now hell bent on changing their colour like chameleon simply to deceive the people once again,'' the spokesman said.

They are creating confusion raising issues of ''federal State and self rule,'' knowing that the ''autonomous status of the State,'' will take care of all such interests.

''Demand for the restoration of autonomy is not a painted promise of National Conference but a basic policy of the party,'' he asserted.

It may be recalled the NC had set up a committee immediately after assuming power in the state in 1996 on restoration of autonomy to state. However, the committee's report, which was passed by both --legislative assembly and council-- was outrightly rejected by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, in which the NC was a coalition partner.


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