Cong leader Karan Singh backs Modi's Kashmir move

 Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh

In yet another blow to divided Congress on 370, its senior leader Karan Singh, the son of the last ruler of the princely state of J&K Maharaja Hari Singh, broadly supported the Modi government's move to strip the state of its special status under Article 370.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, two days after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) slammed the government for scrapping J&K of the special status and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories, Karan Singh said he saw “several positive points” in the government decisions.

“I personally do not agree with a blanket condemnation of these developments. There are several positive points,” Singh said in the statement here, referring to the “unusually fast decisions in Parliament” earlier this week.

Singh, who was the Sadar-e-Riyasat (President) of Jammu and Kashmir and later its Governor, also welcomed the creation of the Union Territory of Ladakh and noted that he himself had proposed the reorganisation of the state way back in 1965.

In a separate statement, Karan Singh's son Vikramaditya, also a Congress leader, said he fully supported the step for full integration of J&K state into the Union of India and its reorganisation.

The scrapping of Article 35-A by the government also found Karan Singh's support. “The gender discrimination in Article 35A needed to be addressed as also the long-awaited enfranchisement of lakhs of West Pakistan refugees and reservations for Scheduled Tribes which will be welcomed,” he said.

Ironically, Karan Singh, a member of the J&K Policy Planning Group of the Congress, had joined senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Ambika Soni at the AICC Headquarters on Saturday to slam the uncertainty prevailing in J&K due to troop mobilisation in the valley.

Karan Singh had also participated in the discussions of the Group, chaired by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday evening, that had cautioned the Modi government against taking any precipitate action in J&K.

He did not comment directly on Article 370 and also called for releasing the leaders of legitimate political parties in J&K and initiate a broad-based political dialogue with them.

“The effort should be that Jammu and Kashmir attains full statehood as soon as possible so that its people can at least enjoy political rights available to the rest of the country,” Karan Singh said.

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