Article 370 strongest bridge between J&K and India: JKPCC Vice President

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GROUND REPORT| WAHID BHAT
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President G N Monga says controversial issues raised by the current regime are bound to witness turmoil in the Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and MLC G N Monga while taking to Wahid Bhat said that the controversial issues raised by the current regime are bound to witness turmoil in the Valley.

He talks to Wahid Bhat. Here are concerts of interview:

After loss of Lok Sabha election, what is congress planning for assembly election?

Monga: Election results cannot break Congress party’s resolve to work for the wellbeing and development of the people, besides fighting against the menace of politics of betrayal, exploitation and opportunism.

Congress is fully capable to fight against the communal and fascist forces, and won’t allow them to vitiate the atmosphere of harmony to serve their vested interests.

Congress has the legacy of serving people in whatever situation and it will continue to remain committed to work for the inclusive development of the State and people as well.

What is Congress stand on Articles 370 and 35A?

Monga: We have always said Article 370 is the strongest bridge between J&K and the rest of the country. It is the only link. If you break this link, many questions will be raised. Under no circumstances, the law granting special status to the state can be abrogated.

Congress criticised AFSPA, Why did Congress not scale back AFSPA during its years at centre?

Monga: See, government is always a running institution. If there were mistakes committed in the past, it is the present government that has to rectify them. [The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister] Omar Abdullah fought a battle against AFSPA. I fully supported him. I worked with [the Congress politician and former union minister] P Chidambaram and he understood the ground realities. He tried to convince the cabinet, but it was the defence minister [at the time, AK Antony served in the position] who wanted to go by the advice of the generals.

India needs to understand that AFSPA is not solving the problem; it is deepening the alienation [of Kashmiris] with the Indian state. If you use more force, if you keep bringing more army and paramilitary forces, you will be fighting against your own purpose. Kashmiris will keep on proving their invincibility. You can never win this battle with force. Personally, I have always spoken against excesses by any side. I can’t suppress my conscience.

Though the Valley has witnessed uprising, how do you see such kind of situations in Kashmir?

Monga: It is unfortunate that the Government led by PDP-BJP has not been able to create the peaceful atmosphere in the state. The government is constantly raising controversial issues, which is bound to trigger such kind of situations because there is inherent contradiction between the coalition government. This further gives rise to pursuit of anger and alienation.

Congress was always seen extending it support to the government to normalize the situation. What Congress did on ground to normalize the situation?

Monga: If you look back right from the beginning, the congress party in the state has always tried to create peaceful atmosphere in the state. The party has also served people from city to towns to remote towns of the state. That is why you will find the congress party in every village of the state. In recent five and a half month unrest, the congress party has reached to people everywhere in the valley for creating peaceful atmosphere.

The separatist leadership have said that they are ready for unconditional talks. Do you believe that it is the right time for both central and state government to initiate dialogue process?

Monga: The congress party has always believed in talks. Every problem can be solved through a dialogue. The differences in the approach towards a problem can be solved by initiating a dialogue. There is no harm at this moment also, if the talks are to be started, India and Pakistan should start dialogue at the earliest and government should simultaneously start talking to separatist leaders.

How do you see the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, which resulted in blindness to several people from 2016?

Monga: The use of the force by the security forces during the recent unrest in the valley is unprecedented in the history of the Kashmir Valley. Thousands are blinded, wounded and near about hundreds are dead. The use of pellet guns has created a lot of damage. Every opposition party opposed the use of pellet guns even the judiciary has disapproved the use. The government should immediately provide assistance to the people who were blinded due to its use.

How would you react over issuing domicile certificates to West Pakistani Refugees?

Monga: I think this question should be put to PDP who lodiev in the deceit. When the congress party wanted to help WPR’s, the PDP in opposition at the time opposed the move vehemently. Congress Party always believed in solving the human problems through humanitarian approach Congress Party believes in safe guarding the interests of the people of J&K