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Dr. Karan Singh distressed over Article 370 controversy

Senior Congress leader Karan Singh, whose father Maharaja Hari Singh had signed the Instrument of Accession to India in October 1947, on Thursday appealed to all concerned to tone down the rhetoric over Article 370, describing the issue as “extremely sensitive”.

“I have been distressed by the fierce controversy that has broken out in the press and electronic media with regard to Article 370, flowing from an avoidable statement by the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (Jitendra Singh). The whole question is extremely sensitive and must be handled coolly and in a mature fashion. The sort of statements issued from both sides will only create further turmoil and tension in the Jammu and Kashmir issue,” said Dr. Singh.

“It is true that the Instrument was exactly the same as the document signed by all the other former provincial States. However, whereas the other States later signed merger agreements, the relationship of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country was governed by a special set of circumstances, and hence, given a special position. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which I signed into law in 1957, is still in force,” he said.

Dr. Singh said Jammu and Kashmir was certainly an integral part of India, but that did not necessarily mean that it had to be treated exactly on par with other States. “The whole question of Jammu and Kashmir has to be looked at an integral fashion, including the international dimension, the constitutional position, the legal aspects as well as the political aspects. Such an integral review is overdue, but it has to be done in a cooperative rather than a confrontational manner,” he said, appealing to all concerned to tone down the rhetoric and not let the Minister’s statement plunge the new government almost immediately into a complex and difficult situation.

Drawing parallels, Dr. Singh said: “Hong Kong is an integral part of China, but has been given a special dispensation….though all talk of secession is totally unacceptable and uncalled for, the steam-roller approach is also not appropriate.”

He said: “Let us not forget that 50 per cent of the area of my father’s 84,000 sq miles State is in fact not in our possession. It has been under Pakistan control since the UN’s brokered ceasefire on January 1, 1949, and Pakistan has leased a considerable portion of this land to China. An interesting point is that in the three regions of the State that are with us – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh – the bulk of public opinion differs sharply on this issue.”


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 1:25:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national//article60381445.ece