Have to accept SC verdict on Article 370 with heavy heart: Azad

Srinagar: Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairperson Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday termed the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the abrogation of Article 370 “sad and unfortunate” but said everyone has to accept it “with a heavy heart”.

Nobody will be happy with this judgement in Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said after a five-judge apex court bench ended a decades long debate by unanimously upholding the Centre’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 bestowing special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. It also directed restoration of statehood “at the earliest” as well as elections to the assembly by September 30 next year.

“It is unfortunate but everyone has to accept the decision of the Supreme Court with a heavy heart. We did not expect this decision. We were thinking that the Supreme Court will consider the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and also the historical background under which the Article 370 was incorporated to the constitution. That was our hope but unfortunately that has not happened,” Azad told reporters at his residence here.

Asked about court’s direction on holding elections and restoration of statehood, Azad said the government had made these commitments in the Parliament already.

In his view, the abrogation of Article 370 was done hurriedly and without consulting the people or the political parties of Jammu and Kashmir.

“It is a sad day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir which people have to accept because there is no other course (available). These are two strongest pillars of a democracy — one is the lawmaking, the Parliament, which has taken decision against Article 370 in August 2019. Then there is the Supreme Court which interprets the decisions of GOI or parliament. That has also gone against us,” Aad said

“Had the political parties of Jammu and Kashmir been consulted, maybe we would have been able to bargain something, maybe we would have got something…,” he said.