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J&K’s Union Territory Foundation Day Sparks Demands for Statehood Restoration

Jammu, 31-10-2023 : The observance of Union Territory Foundation Day in Jammu and Kashmir became the focal point of criticism as both the Congress and the National Conference (NC) raised their voices against the BJP. In a resounding demand, they called for the restoration of statehood and early Assembly elections for the region. The contentious issue at the heart of this debate revolves around the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, following the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019.

In a show of dissent, the Congress organized a peaceful protest, with Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani leading the hour-long demonstration outside the party headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk. The party marked the fourth Union Territory Foundation Day as a “black day,” emphasizing its discontent with the current situation. Participants in the protest, including former ministers and legislators, held placards echoing their fervent call for the restoration of statehood and prompt assembly elections. Their slogans resounded with disapproval of the Union Territory administration, which had organized a series of celebratory functions in all 20 districts to mark the occasion.

The NC echoed these sentiments, asserting that the BJP’s celebration of the foundation day had deepened the wounds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. According to Rattan Lal Gupta, a senior NC leader and the Jammu provincial president of the party, this event was marred by the fact that it was on this very day that the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was diminished and partitioned. Gupta drew attention to the historical significance of the Dogra community, particularly the valiant efforts of Dogra ruler Maharaja Gulab Singh and his late General Zorawar Singh.