Stripping Jammu and Kashmir of statehood tarnished India’s image globally, says Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee KasmirMamata Banerjee KasmirCM Mamata Banerjee said that she doesn’t know the reason for removing the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and it was not needed. (PTI)

Firing a fresh salvo at the Centre for its August 5, 2019 move, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood was not needed and tarnished India’s image globally. Ahead of the all-party meet which was chaired by PM Narendra Modi yesterday, when Banerjee was asked to comment on it, she said that she did not know either about the meeting or its agenda.

CM Mamata Banerjee said that she doesn’t know the reason for removing the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and it was not needed. The CM said that the move has not helped the country at all. “For the last two years, tourists could not travel to Kashmir. It became a question of the country’s prestige. The autocracy there has brought enough disgrace to the country, similar to what the (Covid) vaccines have done,” said Banerjee.

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Almost two years after the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcating Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting of key political parties of the state. As many as 14 leaders from J&K participated in the meeting and put forth their demand. During the meeting, PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly said that the government is committed to restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood at an appropriate time. The PM later tweeted saying that the delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory.

Yesterday’s meeting was the Centre’s first outreach to Jammu and Kashmir’s political leadership since the abrogation of Article 370.

After the meeting, PM Modi said that Indian democracy’s biggest strength is its ability to sit across a table and exchange views. “I told the leaders of J&K that it is the people, especially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled,” said the PM.

PM Modi said that the meeting with political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir was an important step in the ongoing efforts towards a developed and progressive J&K, where all-round growth is furthered.

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