What do the descendants of the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir think about the abrogation of Article 370? Regarding this, after talking to Karan Singh, son of the last Maharaja Hari Singh, he wanted to know what he wanted? He clearly said that Jammu should not be made a centrally governed state but should be established as a full-fledged state. Because there are many problems in UT states, he gave the example of Delhi and said that every day there is a war between the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant Governor over rights. Similar situation can arise in Jammu also. Apart from being a politician, Karan Singh is also an expert diplomat. Former Union Minister, has long experience in politics. Journalist Dr. Ramesh Thakur had a long conversation with him on the new circumstances arising regarding Jammu.
Question: What is the purpose of your demand for a full state instead of a union territory?
Answer: Progress is possible only in a perfect state. What is the condition of UT states, its results are in front of us. The fight between Kejriwal and LG in Delhi is an example of this. Jammu and Kashmir became a full state. Elections should be held for the entire state only, not for the Union Territories. There is no point in voting for a Union Territory and then becoming a State. The central government should brainstorm on this issue. Otherwise, this problem will become a permanent ulcer and the people of the state will suffer the consequences.
Question: What should the central government do now?
Answer: What the Government of India has to do and what not to do, perhaps everything is already decided. As far as you want to know my opinion, after the removal of Article 370, the Central Government should restore the status of a full state without any delay, for this, whatever constitutional and legal procedures should be completed with immediate effect and one of its Fair elections should be held within months. The Supreme Court has also told the date of elections and by when they are to be held. Because a lot of time has passed without government and elections. I think it would not be appropriate to hold elections without a full state. Now there should be no difficulties in these works.
Question: Have you seen any improvement in Jammu and Kashmir in the past few days?
Answer- See, Governor’s rule has been imposed for a long time and the state is handed over to the army. I wish that the law and order of the state should be fine for the safety of the people and everyone should live their lives in peace. As far as reforms are concerned, we will be able to review them only when an elected government comes to power in the state. However, many new schemes have been launched by the Center in the state. For example, many higher education centers have been established, sports were organized, G-20 meetings were held, and many other activities have started. Every resident of the state wishes that development in Jammu and Kashmir should be as fast as in other states.
Question: If seen, did you not get many reactions after the removal of Article 370 and 35A?
Answer: It is not so, I welcomed the decision from the beginning and now the Supreme Court has also justified it, so there is no point in reacting. We all should welcome the decision of the Supreme Court. I am with whoever is in favor of the prosperity of the state. Thinking this, my father Maharaja Hari Singh had once signed the Instrument of Accession to India. He was always friendly towards Kashmiris.
Question: Despite the court’s decision being constitutionally valid, some Kashmiri leaders are adamant on protesting?
Answer- Look, change is a law of nature which everyone should accept. There is no point in recalling the time that has passed. We also once had a princely state in the state. But, times have changed. Can’t turn back the old times. I think whoever had the slightest doubt about Article 370 should end after the decision of the Supreme Court. Everything has been done under the supervision of the legal system through constitutional means.
Question: Now you are not seen much active in Congress, any special reason?
Answer- It is not possible to be active at the stage of age I am. There is no doubt that I was, am and will always be a staunch Congressman. See, ever since my parliamentary term ended, I have lost my mind from politics. Therefore, these are my personal views on 370, the party has nothing to do with it.
-Dr. Ramesh Thakur
(The author is a senior journalist)