Congress To Observe Oct 31 As ‘Black Day’ Against J&K Becoming UT

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani accused the BJP of destroying the princely state by dividing it into two Uts and demanded immediate restoration of its statehood.

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The Congress on Wednesday said it would observe October 31, the day the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir officially became a union territory four years ago, as a "black day".

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani accused the BJP of destroying the princely state by dividing it into two union territories and demanded immediate restoration of its statehood.

On August 5, 2019, the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which contains provisions to divide the state into two union territories came into effect from October 31, 2019.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress' Rajouri district unit, Wani said, "The Jammu and Kashmir administration and some people who were describing it as a temporary move are making preparations to celebrate UT diwas (on October 31). The Congress will observe it as a ‘black day’ to lodge a protest against the policies of the BJP, which has ruined the state."

A lot of harm has been caused to Jammu and Kashmir, which was a gift of Maharaja Hari Singh (the last Dogra ruler) to India, he said.

"The Congress has turned union territories into states but this was for the first time in the history of the country that a state was turned into two union territories and its special status was revoked," he added.

Targeting the BJP, the Congress leader said, "The BJP’s policies hit Jammu and Kashmir economically -- we are number one in unemployment and our businesses are now on the decline."

Wani said the last assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were held in 2014.

Since the BJP fears that it will be defeated due to its anti-people policies, it is not allowing elections to be held, even though polls have been announced in some other parts of the country, he said.

"Even the urban local body and panchayat polls are being deferred to hide the failures of the BJP," he added.

The Congress leader also slammed the Jammu and Kashmir administration for not being able to fill up vacancies in government departments and claimed no post of a teacher has been filled up since 2010 and the situation is the same in police, electricity, water, forest, fisheries and other departments.

Wani urged party workers to set aside their differences and stand united against the BJP as "everyone wants this government to go".

He also asked them to remain cautious of political parties that have a "secret alliance" with the BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.