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PM's working group for autonomous J&K

December 24, 2009 15:19 IST
In a noteworthy progress, a working group of the prime minister has suggested autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that the Central government may consider an offer made by the ruling National Conference in this regard.

The group also said a decision needs to be taken as how long would Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir should prolong.

The fifth working group submitted its report in Jammu to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set up this group, which is headed by Justice S Sagir Ahmed, a retired Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The working group has been set with the motive of strengthening the relations between the Centre and the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with regard to matters of granting special status to the border state.

The National Conference has been persisting its demands of granting more powers to the state government. The party claims that only three departments- defence, external affairs and currency should remain with the Central government.

Article 370 of the constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. This article specifies that except for defence, foreign affairs and communications, (matters specified in the instrument of accession) the Indian Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

Thus the state's residents lived under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.

Source: ANI