The ruling National Conference President and Union minister Farooq Abdullah urged the Centre to grant internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir to facilitate peace in the border state. "The central government needed to take expeditious steps to implement the report of justice (Retd) Saghir Ahmad to create conducive atmosphere for peace in the state", the Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy told reporters at his Gupkar residence on Thursday.
He asserted that restoration of internal autonomy to J and K was not the demand of his party but the "constitutional right" of the people of the state. "I (as president of NC) have recommended implementation of the report of justice Saghir Ahmad to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He has already interacted with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard. Now it is hoped that autonomy in its original shape is restored in the state", he said.
Defending the demand for restoration of autonomy to the state, Abdullah said autonomy to the state is constitutional right of the people of all the three regions (Jammu,Ladakh and kashmir) of the state and its restoration will benefit all the people.
The Union minister also demanded implementation of the recommendations of the other four working groups set up by the Prime Minister in 2005-06. He said he was confident that restoration of autonomy to the state would help in restoration of peace and give fillip to the developmental tempo in the state.
"People can be satisfied if autonomy is restored to the state in its original shape. A new lease of life in article 370 and 1952 Delhi agreement will return peace in the state", he asserted. Abdullah said restoration of autonomy is part of political manifesto of National Conference, but political workers of other parties also support the demand."Our party has been struggling for restoration of autonomy for years and have rendered numerous sacrifices", he said.
Earlier, talking to workers from different parts of the valley, he said panchayat elections are going to be held in the state "soon" and asked them to take part in the polls for strengthening the basic democratic institutions. To the workers from Ganderbal, the home constituency of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Abdullah said setting up of central university in Ganderbal will provide employment to 5,000 educated youth of the state.