NC wants autonomy, silent on alliance with Congress

Jammu, April 7 (IANS) Ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary and assembly elections, the ruling National Conference has reiterated its demand for “autonomy” for Jammu and Kashmir, and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from the state.

The National Conference took its stand on the two key issues during its two-day working commitee meet, which concluded here Sunday. It did not, however, take any decision on the pre-poll alliance with the Congress, with which it shares power in the state.

On pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming parliamentary and assembly elections, the working committee resolved “to take a decision on the issue at an appropriate time”.

The central working committee meeting, presided over by NC president and union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, passed a 10-point resolution which expressed “full faith and confidence in the leadership of Omar Abdullah”. Omar is the chief minister of the state and also the working president of the NC.

The working committee said: “The restoration of the autonomy continues to be the bed rock of the National Conference’s policy and agenda, and the party shall continue to strive for the honour, dignity and self-respect of the people of the state.”

The NC has been demanding greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir for almost two decades. It wants that areas of constitutional authority other than defence, external affairs and communications “should be restored” to Jammu and Kashmir.

The NC government then headed by Farooq Abdullah passed a resolution in the state assembly in June 2000 which was rejected by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The NC working committee also reiterated its resolve that AFSPA should be revoked in a phased manner from various parts of the state, beginning from the areas where militancy has been substantially reduced and the security apparatus is being handled by the state police and the paramilitary forces.

The party also resolved that “in the interest of sustainable peace in the region, a sustained and meaningful India-Pakistan dialogue must proceed without any impediments and that the CBMs (confidence building measures) should be further consolidated and strengthened”.

In this direction, the working committee resolved that the “internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue should also be addressed through a process of dialogue with all shades of opinion which stands stalled at the moment”.

Reviewing the functioning and achievements of the NC-led coalition government with Congress since 2009, the working committee “appreciated the remarkable initiatives taken by the state government under Omar Abdullah’s leadership to accelerate the process of development in all the regions of the state… “

The working committee noted that the potentially explosive situation that emerged in Kashmir after Afzal Guru’s hanging was handled effectively by Omar Abdullah by taking necessary measures to curb violence.

It expressed its deep anguish over the denial of the opportunity to the family of Afzal Guru to meet him before his execution and demanded the return of his mortal remains to the bereaved family.

It expressed its deep gratitude to the people of the state for maintaining peace and communal harmony during the most difficult days after Afzal Guru’s hanging.

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