JAMMU: Claiming that there is lack of communication between the public and the bureaucracy in Jammu and Kashmir, veteran Congress leader Karan Singh on Tuesday advocated free and fair assembly elections to address the “missing link” by installing a popular government.
Singh, son of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, also demanded restoration of the full statehood to the Union Territory.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, the former ‘Sadr-i-Riyasat’ of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir said there is no possibility of taking back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) without a war which only brings death and destruction.
Responding to a question about the policies of BJP-led Central government in J&K, he said “it (the developments of 2019 when the Centre revoked Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union territories), was a very drastic step to remove the whole special structure and it has now been three years that J&K is under central administration.
“A lot of good things have happened and there is no doubt about it, but what I gather is that there is a lack of communication between the public and the bureaucracy. MLAs, whether good or bad, play an important role as they are intermediaries between people and the government.
“Today, there are no MLAs and so there is a bureaucracy and they cannot listen to everyone. It is not their job and that gap needs to be filled, which can be done by holding free and fair elections to pave way for a popular government. The popular government will be a link which is missing,” he said.
Asked whether it is time to get back PoK, he said “reversing the time is not so easy and without a war it is not possible to get it back. You know the consequences of a war which brings death and destruction.” However, he said it is true that the areas under illegal occupation of the neighbouring countries are part of Jammu and Kashmir and “if we get these areas back it is good. But are we ready for a war, China is also standing there.” He also advocated restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
On bifurcation of the erstwhile state, he said, “I believe we have to look forward rather than going back which is not beneficial.” “My mantra is that I have always looked at the present and future. I have seen a lot of things (in my life) and I have never been discouraged (by events). Time keeps changing and let us do something to make the world a better place,” he said.
“Our elders have given their blood to spread the borders of India to Gilgit and Ladakh,” he said.
Singh also opposed forced conversions, whether in India or Pakistan and said such things should not happen.