Statehood Before Elections: Karan Singh's Call For Jammu And Kashmir

The court's other direction -- to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and hold assembly elections -- are the developments that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should look forward to, Mr Singh told NDTV.

Statehood Before Elections: Karan Singh's Call For Jammu And Kashmir
New Delhi:

The statehood of Jammu and Kashmir should be restored before assembly elections are held there, Karan Singh, the erstwhile state's first Governor, said hours after the Supreme Court backed the Centre's decision to scrap its special status under Article 370.

The court's other direction -- to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and hold assembly elections -- are the developments that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should look forward to, Mr Singh told NDTV.

In this context, he suggested that it would be better to restore statehood before holding elections since "there is no point voting for a Union Territory and then becoming a state".

Mr Singh was one of the few leaders from Jammu and Kashmir who welcomed the court order -- saying it "ends the uncertainty for the people" -- and congratulated the judges for their "meticulous" look into the contentious issue.

Most leaders from Kashmir have expressed dejection at the ruling. Several, like National Conference chief Omar Abdullah, have said the "struggle will go on".

Mr Singh appeared to agree when he said today's events did not mark the beginning of an era, as many are calling it, but a "new chapter" for Jammu and Kashmir. Bor in 1931, he has sen the erstwhile state's through its many ups and downs, he said.

Mr Singh also acknowledged that much work has been done in Jammu and Kashmir over the last four years. "The Dal lake has been cleaned up, which itself is a miracle," he told NDTV.

The top court today explained its decision to back the Centre's move to scrap Article 370 saying Jammu and Kashmir did not retain sovereignty when it joined India and its constituent assembly ceased to exist the moment it merged with India.

Jammu and Kashmir should be put on par with other states "at the earliest", the Supreme Court said, ordering the Centre to hold elections by September next year and restore statehood.

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