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Congress releases manifesto, assures less presence of Army, CAPF in Kashmir

‘Will go for assembly polls in JK immediately, nothing will change in Art 370’


Srinagar, Apr 02 (KNS): The Congress party on Tuesday released election manifesto, days ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, slated to commence from April 11, promising that there will be no change in Article 370, assuring that presence of Army and CAPFs in the Kashmir Valley will also be reduced.

The party has fixed a section for Jammu and Kashmir in its election manifesto, claiming that the State is part of India. “We acknowledge the unique history of Jammu and Kashmir and the unique circumstances under which it acceded to India that led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution of India. Nothing will be done or allowed to change the Constitutional position,” the part promised in its election manifesto.

The manifesto titled “Congress will deliver” reads that the party has stood witness to the developments in Jammu and Kashmir since the instrument of accession was signed on 26 October 1947. “Congress affirms that the whole of Jammu & Kashmir is part of India,” it said.

It added that Congress has long held the view that dialogue is the only way to understand the aspirations of the people of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir and find an honourable solution to their issues. “We will take that path,” the manifesto reads.

“We will adopt a two-pronged approach: firstly, uncompromising firmness on the border and ending infiltration; and secondly, absolute fairness in dealing with the demands of the people and winning their hearts and minds,” it reads.

The ‘Congress will deliver’ also added that party promises to review the deployment of armed forces, move more troops to the border to stop infiltration completely, reduce the presence of the Army and CAPFs in the Kashmir Valley, and entrust more responsibility to the J&K police for maintaining law and order.

“The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act in J&K will be reviewed. Suitable changes will be made in the text of the laws to balance the requirements of security and the protection of human rights,” it added.

“Building a Union of States that is India is a project of inclusiveness. Jammu & Kashmir and its problems deserve a large-hearted approach that will eschew muscular militarism and legalistic formulations and look for an innovative federal solution. Congress promises to find such a solution through patient dialogue and talks with all stakeholders in the State. Congress promises the people of J&K talks without pre-conditions. We will appoint 3 interlocutors drawn from civil society to facilitate such talks,” the manifesto added.

“We will renew the initiatives taken by the UPA government such as UDAAN, HIMAYAT and UMMEED to impart training in skills and create economic opportunities for the youth of J&K,” Congress’s manifesto reads, adding that free and fair elections to the State Legislative Assembly will be held immediately.

“We are deeply concerned about the cases of discrimination and harassment of students, traders and others belonging to Jammu & Kashmir in the rest of India and we will ensure their safety and their right to study or do business,” the manifesto further added. (KNS)