Jammu, March 12 : Former Indian Minister Dr Karan Singh has criticized the Modi government for repealing Article 370 in a very cruel manner saying that the Kashmiris felt “gravely shattered” by the sudden move to downgrade the status of Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory.
Dr Karan Singh, who is the son of late Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, in an interview with news website The Print, said that the revocation of Article 370 was a drastic decision and done in a cruel manner. He said, “You shut everyone down. Total lockdown! It was not done after consultation.”
He said that the move shocked Kashmiris, particularly ethnic Kashmiris. He maintained that Dogras, in fact, welcomed the integration (of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India) but now they were getting worried about jobs and all but Kashmiris certainly felt gravely shattered.
Dr Karan Singh, who was also the former Sadr-e-Riyasat and Governor of IIOJK, said there is a sense of anger in Jammu and Kashmir over repeal of the territory’s special status, which, he said was promised to the then princely state by the Union of India. “They (Kashmiris) wanted to retain the special status promised to them. In fact, Kashmiri leaders wanted to further strengthen it. Special Status is the key,” he said.
The former diplomat and the Union Minister expressed sadness over downgrading the status of Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory. “Earlier, it was said that Jammu and Kashmir is the crown of India and now it has been demoted to Union Territory. It is even not a state now. So first, the statehood must be restored and political process must be initiated,” he said.
The former minister said that he was concerned about the Kashmiri leaders who were placed under house arrest post announcement of the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019 but did not say or do anything as he “didn’t want to embarrass Government of India”.