From Gopal Sharma
AKHNOOR, Oct 21: While putting a lid on the controversy pertaining to accession or the ‘merger’ of Jammu and Kashmir State with the Union of India and the so called role of some people in between, former Sadar-e-Riyasat and son of Late Maharaja Hari Singh, Dr Karan Singh ( Cong MP) today said that accession of J&K State with the Union of India was full and final and any body should not have any iota of doubt about it.
“The State of Jammu and Kashmir became the part of India like other major States after my Bapuji (father, Maharaja Hari Singh) signed the instrument of accession with the Union of India. There was no difference at all in any terms and conditions and our State also become part of India like other States. It is different thing that some developments took place later and by virtue of Article 370, the State got the special status which no other State has in the country”, Dr Singh said at the sidelines of a function organized to unveil a bronze plaque at Jia Pota Chenab bank where Raj Tilak ceremony of Maharaja Gulab Singh took place on June 17, 1928.
“I do not want to go into the details or legality of the situation or further status, but let us place a full stop on any further controversy over the issue. There had been some developments in the recent past and more was read and listened in the media over the controversy. The things should be very clear to the people”, Dr Singh added.
When asked for his comments on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks that it was just accession and not merger, Dr Singh avoiding any further controversy said that he would not like to differentiate or fall into legalities but put the things straight by saying that a document of accession was signed by Late Maharaja and by virtue of which this State became part of India. J&K has special status which no other State was enjoying and it also has it own Constitution.
Addressing large gathering Dr Singh said the present situation was not good in the Jammu and Kashmir. Amidst curfews, strikes, agitations, many innocent people have lost their lives. Over one hundred people who got killed during the Kashmir agitation, were the sons, brothers of somebody. It is very painful and unfortunate. They are citizens of this country. He said youth in Kashmir are pelting stones. The Jammu people will never do it. Pelting stones or indulging in violence is also not good and leads to nowhere. He said issues can be solved through dialogue and the Government is doing its best to restore peace and resolve issue.
Former Sadar-e-Riyasat further said that Jammu and Ladakh can not be ignored in any decision or dialogue. Without their involvement no headway can be made on any issue. He said the representatives from Jammu region should project aspirations of the people and their voice strongly heard at any fora. The rich culture of Dogra be projected and preserved. He said ‘Jia Pota’ place at the bank of river Chenab in Akhnoor is the first chapter of the Dogra rule, because at this place Maharaja Gulab Singh was coronated as Maharaja of Jammu on June 17, 1822 under historic Jia Pota tree by Lion of Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself. It is matter of proud for the people of Akhnoor and Dogra region. Thereafter, his fore fathers extended the boundaries of the State and J&K became the largest State of India with 84,000 sq miles area up to Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan.
Dr Singh said installing bronze plaque of the founder of J&K State at Akhnoor is just like repeating history again. And this plaque at this historic place is being installed on the birth anniversary of Late Maharaja Gulab Singh. He complimented the MP Madan Lal, Minister for Health Sham Lal, members of Maharaja Gulab Singh Trust, Brig J S Rajput and members of the Akhnoor Reception Committee who contributed a lot in raising this historic plaque. He said Akhnoor has already been brought on tourism destination and it will attract a large number of pilgrim tourists coming to Mata Vaishnodevi and Shiv Khori. He also honoured many persons including K P Singh, president of the Reception Committee and Director Tourism N K Verma for their contribution on the project on this occasion.
MP Madan Lal in his address said that with the installation of this historic plaque at this place an effort has been made to leave footprints of our great rulers for the coming generations. This place is the first step and rather beginning of Dogra rule in the Jammu and Kashmir. He said it was responsibility of each leader and person from this region to project and protect his Dogra culture, heritage and work for promotion of this language. He pointed out that a vacuum has been created in the leadership in Jammu region after the demise of leaders like Pt Tarlochan Dutt and it is need of the hour to protect the interests of the people of Jammu and raise their voice. Some conspiracies are being hatched against the people of Jammu and the representing people here should remain vigilant and aware.
Minister for Health said that Akhnoor town has attained more historic and tourism attraction and huge funds are being spent to develop it as good tourist destination. He said Ghats have been developed and one more on the Eastern bank will be developed shortly. One more bridge is being constructed over Chenab and Reasi will be connected to Jammu via Akhnoor tehsil shortly. It will open new routes for pilgrims visiting Vaishnodevi. Ajatshatru Singh extended gratitude to MP Madan Lal, his brother and also people who worked for installation of this plaque of Late Maharaja.
Earlier, Dr Karan Singh accompanied by his son, Kumar Ajatshatru Singh (MLC), MP Madan Lal Sharma and Minister Sham Lal unveiled the plaque of Maharaja Gulab Singh being coronated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh amidst Vedic sermons at the bank of river Chenab. A large number of people of the town and adjoining area witnessed the occasion.