With National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah by his side, Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday lambasted the Centre over its decision to scrap Article 370 and declare J&K a union territory.
Addressing the media after a meeting with senior Abdullah, Azad said the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory should be revoked and should be declared a state again. HE described the Centre's move an "insult to the people" of the Valley.
“How can such a large state be called a UT,” Azad said.
"If J&K has to progress, then all political leaders under detention in Srinagar must be released. The political process must begin in Jammu & Kashmir. Elections must be conducted in J&K, following proper procedure," he said.
In an indirect reference to a newly established political party in Kashmir, Azad said an agency-backed party won't survive there. “Only parties which are backed by people can flourish here,” Azad said.
Even though Dr Abdullah stood there during Azad's interaction with media, he didn’t take any question. While Azad was firm about the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, he didn’t respond to question about the restoration of Article 370 saying let the political process start.
“I have come on behalf of all those who have been raising voice in the parliament and other places against the detention of politicians,” Azad said accusing the government of committing excesses against Dr Abdullah by putting him in house arrest for the over seven months.
India, Azad said, is known in the world for its democracy not for keeping former elected chief ministers in jails for seven and half months.