Grant large degree of autonomy to J&K: PC

Proposing a radical solution to the situation in Kashmir, senior Congress leader and former Home Minister P Chidambaram has advocated restoring the “grand bargain” under which Kashmir had acceded to India by granting a large degree of autonomy.“I think their approach is wrong. We have ignored the grand bargain under which Kashmir acceded to India. I think we broke faith, we broke promises and as a result we have paid a heavy price,” he told a TV channel.He said the best solution, according to him, was that New Delhi should give an assurance the people of Kashmir that the “grand bargain” promised during the time of Kashmir’s accession “will be honoured fully”.

Chidambaram said, “I may be wrong, I may be right but what is necessary is to give the assurance that the grand bargain will be fully honoured. Let them (people of Kashmir) frame their own laws as much as possible and as long as it does not conflict with the Constitution.“We have to assure that we will respect identity, history, culture, religion…”Citing India’s advice to Sri Lankan on devolution of asymmetric powers to Tamil areas of the north and east, the former minister said implement what we are preaching to Sri Lanka.Chidambaram said the situation in Kashmir has been mishandled by successive governments in Srinagar and New Delhi.

“We (UPA government) did mishandle. But we corrected ourselves in 2010. Now, both the governments in Delhi and Srinagar mishandled (it) very, very badly,” he said.Asserting that Kashmir “required a unique political solution”, Mr Chidambaram blamed the ruling PDP-BJP alliance for the present crisis saying they (alliance) should have never come to power.“The alliance itself is a grave provocation for the valley. It is a legitimate government. They have the numbers. The legitimacy of the government has not taken away the fact that these two partners forming government has given a sense of fear among people of Kashmir.”

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