Kashmiri Pandits demand restoration of statehood and special status for J&K

“The Indian Constitution ensures right to equality that extends to individuals, communities, religions, regions and all social and political institutions. The right to equality ensures non-discrimination on basis of religion, caste, region or any other social and political sub- categories.

By Sheikh Qayoom

An organisation of migrant Kashmiri Pandits on Monday demanded the immediate restoration of statehood and special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Satish Mahaldar, chairman of migrant Kashmiri Pandits organization called Reconciliation, Relief and Rehabilitation said in a statement on Monday, “We demand immediate restoration of statehood and special status to Jammu and Kashmir.”

“The Indian Constitution ensures right to equality that extends to individuals, communities, religions, regions and all social and political institutions. The right to equality ensures non-discrimination on basis of religion, caste, region or any other social and political sub- categories.

“Never before a state has been downgraded. This is not done in a democracy. One can’t have a military solution to a political situation and can’t go to war with their own people.”

In an appeal to the Prime Minister, home minister and parliamentarians, Mahaldar said, “The people of Jammu and Kashmir are your own people, love them and as a good gesture confer special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The representatives /parliamentarians are for the people, by the people and they need to understand the aspiration and the wishes of the people.”

“Special provisions should be made to safeguard the interest and aspirations of the backward regions, to protect cultural and economic interests of the people, safeguard the minorities and deal with the disturbed law and order in some parts of the state .

“It is not that J&K was the only state with special status. Other states too enjoy special category status. These are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. A wide range of provisions are available to these 10 states that have been listed under Articles 371, 371-A to 371-H. Similarly, a special category status should be granted to J&K immediately.

“The central government should bear 90 percent of the state expenditure on all centrally sponsored schemes and external aid while the rest 10 percent should be given as loan to the state at zero percent rate of interest.

“J&K should get preferential treatment in getting central funds, concession on excise duty to attract industries to the state.

“30 percent of the Centre’s gross budget should be also given to J&K.”

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