New Delhi: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked the government to restore statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and hold Assembly elections. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Azad said no development was taking place in J&K while tourism and education had been hit hard following the revocation of special status under Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
“I never heard (former PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee or any BJP leader (before the Modi government) who ever demanded that Jammu and Kashmir should be split into two. There was a demand for UT in only one district of Ladakh (Leh), not Kargil,” Azad said in the Rajya Sabha.
Azad said law and order was 100 times better when Jammu and Kashmir was a state. “Tourists don’t visit the place much now, and the ones that do frequent just the luxury hotels, and rarely interact with locals,” he said.
“As for education, internet connectivity is often cut off, and even when available, it is 2G. In the age of 4G, how can we do anything with 2G? This is affecting the education of students,” the Congress veteran stressed.
Azad also asserted that people in Ladakh and Jammu were not happy about the fact that anyone can buy their land or get jobs. Last year, the Centre notified new land rules in J&K, allowing any Indian citizen to purchase non-agricultural land in the Union territory. The rules have also omitted any need for being a domicile or having a permanent resident certificate for the purchase of land in J&K.