J&K Peoples Conference (JKPC) chairman Sajad Lone on August 31 expressed disappointment over the submissions made by the Centre before the Supreme Court (SC), which is hearing the petitions challenging Article 370.
“The submissions that have been made in the SC are not very dissimilar from the statements made by the Centre in the past four years. I am disappointed. The judiciary is the highest seat and if it asks a question and the answer is same, as ambiguous as it was four years, as evasive as four years, it is a matter of concern,” Mr. Lone said.
Mr. Lone was referring to the Centre’s submission to the SC where it stated about not restoring statehood immediately and withholding any timeline for Assembly elections in the Union Territory. The SC had earlier asked the Centre to share a roadmap for the same for J&K, whose special constitutional status ended in 2019.
“There is no timeline [on elections]. Even the arguments presented are more political arguments than legal ones. If we accept what the Government of India says about development and unemployment in J&K, does that mean every State in India whose indicators of employment and development are lagging will be converted into a UT?” Mr. Lone asked, while adding, “Is this a new norm?”
He said the submissions of the Centre to the SC were “specious and fallacious”. “I hope and pray that legality prevails. As has been observed at the highest body, constitutional challenges should be decided on constitutional basis and not on the basis non-legal arguments,” Mr. Lone said.
He said if everything was okay in Kashmir then what is it that stops the Centre from holding elections. “We are still hopeful. Our case is very strong. All saw and heard the weight of arguments of one side and the weightless argument of the other,” Mr. Lone said.
He said both the judiciary and the people of India need to ponder over the matter. “Is all the might of the government meant for the people of J&K? Why deny people the right to elect their own rulers? Which State or UT has people from outside ruling it and not the regional people?” he said.