NPP demands statehood for Jammu

National Panthers Party chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh on Wednesday demanded statehood for the Jammu region. (AFP Photo)

National Panthers Party chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh on Wednesday demanded statehood for the Jammu region.

The comments come a day after the Parliament approved a resolution revoking provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and a bill for splitting the state into two Union Territories.

"The Union government has got to take the people of Jammu on board and address their aspirations as well," Singh told reporters here. "Rather than clubbing Jammu with Kashmir, the government must immediately announce statehood for Jammu region in conformity with the slogans of its leaders and its affiliated organisations, including the RSS."

Singh said the announcement of clubbing Jammu and Kashmir regions as a Union territory came as a "bolt from the blue".

"The decision of the central government is full of shock and offence for the nationalist people of Jammu who are feeling betrayed and downgraded," the NPP leader said. "The lowering of the status of a 200-year-old state to a UT is irking the minds of the people, especially of Jammu, who felt disgraced and dishonoured."

Reacting to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement that the Modi government would have no hesitation in restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir when normalcy returns, the NPP leader wondered why Jammu was brought within its ambit.

"Why should the Jammu region be deprived of its right to have a government of its own? Why should it be also brought under central rule along with Kashmir?" he asked. "Jammu cannot be allowed to be disgraced merely for the political expediencies of the BJP at the Centre."

Singh describing the Union government's decision as "repulsively bizarre and an insult to Dogra land".

Seeking early review of the decision, Singh said: "We can no longer play second fiddle to the Kashmir leadership who would still continue to hold a majority in the Assembly of the proposed UT by virtue of the higher number of seats earmarked for the Valley." 

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