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J&K has become a department of home ministry, claims Congress

Jairam Ramesh sought to know when elections will be held in J&K


The Congress, on Sunday, said Jammu and Kashmir has become a department of the home ministry and the holding of elections and restoration of statehood are very serious issues.

Addressing a press conference in Samba in Jammu after Bharat Jodo Yatra was halted for the day after completing 21km, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, in reply to a question on the stand of Congress on Article 370 and a tie-up with People Alliance for Gupkar Alliance (PAGD)— an alliance of six regional parties seeking restoration of Article 370 and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir—said the Congress will clear its stand on the issues, but the question is when will elections be held in Jammu and Kashmir to restore democracy.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not even a state, it is a Union territory, the question of elections and restoration of statehood and democracy are more serious issues,’’ he said. “We will talk about Article 370 and alliance with PAGD separately. Bharat Jodo Yatra is to unite the country against communal polarisation, political dictatorship, and undeclared emergency.”

He said after covering 21km, the yatra has been paused for the day. Rahul Gandhi is set to address a press conference tomorrow.

Ramesh said they are pleased with the response to the yatra and a large number of people are joining it, though police tried to stop some from joining.

He said BJP leader Jatinder Singh, on Saturday, wrote a piece against the yatra in a newspaper, but in the same newspaper, Congress leaders Salam Soz and Amitab Dubey have offered a rebuttal. He claimed that the article is part of the BJP policy to try and defame Gandhi, and said the BJP is doing it because they are frustrated by the success of the yatra.

Rajni Patil, Congress’ J&K in-charge, said at the tea break during the yatra on Sunday, a delegation of lawyers, led by Bar Association president M.K. Bhardwaj, met Gandhi for 30 minutes and discussed important matters. “Tomorrow a delegation of Kashmir Pandits will be meeting Rahul Gandhi,’’ he said.

On the blasts that left seven civilians injured in Narwal on Saturday, the Congress leaders said the incident exposes the claim of the BJP that militancy has been finished from Jammu and Kashmir and peace has returned.

They said the killing of four militants recently at Sidhra where Gandhi will stay in Jammu and the attacks on the minorities in Upper Dhangri in Rajouri in which six civilians were killed laid bare the tall claims about normalcy by the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.

They said the yatra is following the advice and guidelines of the security agencies. “We demand action against the militants,” they said.

Ramesh said Gandhi's security is of utmost importance and there will be no compromise on that.

JKPCC chief Vikar Rasool said Jammu and Kashmir is the best example of an undeclared emergency in the country. The BJP has been in power in J&K for the last eight years, and they have given nothing to the people, he claimed.

“They have split out states and are now bulldozing the homes of the people,’’ he said, adding, “Given the response to the yatra, the time is not far when a change will come for the good of the people.”

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