Karan Singh
While the Congress has remained divided on the issue, the veteran party leader believes that there are also "several positive points" of the decision.IANS

Former Sadar-i-Riyasat and the last prince of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Karan Singh, has said he does not agree with a "blanket condemnation" of the abrogation of the Article 370, which gave special status to the state.

"There are several positive points. Ladakh's emergence as a Union Territory is to be welcomed. I had suggested this as far back as 1965 when I had publicly proposed the reorganisation of the state," said Singh.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha about J&K being a single state, he said:  "There are three regions: there is Jammu, there is Kashmir and there is Ladakh. There are these regions and they have their own problems and the youth in those regions have their own aspirations which will not necessarily coincide with each other."

But Singh believes that J&K should attain full statehood again. "The effort should be that Jammu and Kashmir attains full statehood as soon as possible so that its people can at least enjoy the political rights available to the rest of the country," said the 88-year-old son of Maharaja Hari Singh, who acceded J&K with the Union of India.

While Congress has remained divided on the issue, the veteran party leader believes that there are also "several positive points" of the decision.

"The gender discrimination in Article 35A needed to be addressed as also the long-awaited enfranchisement of lakhs of West Pakistan refugees and reservations for Scheduled Tribes which will be welcomed," said the former Governor of J&K.

He further said that a fresh delimitation will ensure a fair division of political powers between Jammu and Kashmir regions.

Reflecting on the process of implementation of the move, Singh said that a broad spectrum of people in Kashmir may be feeling "mortified" and a political dialogue needs to continue in the state.

"It is unfair to dismiss the two main regional parties as being anti-national. Their workers have over the years made heavy sacrifices and besides both of them have been from time to time political allies of national parties and governments at the Centre and in the state," said Singh, referring to the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Former J&K Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were first put under house arrest and then arrested after Article 370 was revoked.

"How ironic that elected representatives like us who fought for peace are under house arrest. The world watches as people & their voices are being muzzled in J&K. The same Kashmir that chose a secular democratic India is facing oppression of unimaginable magnitude. Wake up India," Mufti had tweeted.

Singh has appealed in his statement that the leaders of legitimate political parties in Kashmir should be released as soon as possible and a political dialogue initiated with them and with civil society in view of the drastically changed situation.