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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Karan Singh says distressed over Article 370 controversy

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 29, 2014
First Published: 23:31 IST(29/5/2014) | Last Updated: 23:32 IST(29/5/2014)

The controversy over union minister Jitendra Singh's remarks on the repeal of Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir, senior Congress leader Karan Singh on Wednesday called for restraint on the issue.

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"The whole question is extremely sensitive and must be handled coolly and in a mature fashion," he said in a statement.

Singh, whose father Maharaja Hari Singh had agreed to accede to India by signing the Instrument of Accession in October 1947, expressed distress over the controversy and said any "steam-roller approach" to deal with the issue was not appropriate.

The newly appointed union minister's remarks had triggered a political storm with the Congress, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah, People's Democratic Party and others lashing out at the BJP government for pursuing a "divisive" agenda.

Singh, 83, was the first and last Sadr-i-Riyasat (president) of Jammu and Kashmir and had signed the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, into a law in 1957, according special status to the state.

"Certainly J&K is an integral part of India, but that does not necessarily mean that it has to be treated exactly on a par with other states. Hong Kong is an integral part of China but has been given a special dispensation. There are, in fact, numerous examples around the world in which, due to special circumstances, certain areas or regions have been given a special dispensation."

Singh said the whole question of Jammu & Kashmir has to be looked at in an integral fashion, including the international dimension, the constitutional position, the legal aspects as well as the political aspects. "Such an integral review is overdue, but it has to be done in a cooperative rather than a confrontational manner," he added.

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