Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s Article 370 verdict and wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would "guarantee" the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to their erstwhile home state
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s Article 370 verdict and wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would "guarantee" the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to their erstwhile home state.
He demanded that elections be held soon in Jammu and Kashmir as directed by the apex court.
"We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court. We had supported the move when Article 370 was scrapped. We also welcome the SC's directives to conduct elections by next September. We hope that elections are held soon and people get to vote in a free atmosphere," Thackeray told reporters on the premises of Vidhan Bhavan here.
The winter session of the Maharashtra legislature is currently underway in Nagpur, the second capital of the state.
"We also hope POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is merged into Kashmir so that elections are held in greater Kashmir which is an inseparable part of our country," Thackeray said.
Queried on the status of Kashmir Pandits, he said, "The word guarantee has become famous. We want to know who will give the guarantee that Kashmiri Pandits will return home now and exercise their right to vote. Will PM Modi give us the guarantee that Kashmiri Pandits will return to their home state safely?"
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the Centre's decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 bestowing special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and directed restoration of statehood "at the earliest" as well as elections to the assembly by September 30 next year.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, delivered three concurring judgements upholding abrogation of the Constitutional schemes that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir when it was annexed to the Union of India in 1947.
Writing the judgement for himself and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, the CJI said Article 370 was a temporary provision and the president was empowered to revoke it in the absence of the Constituent Assembly of the erstwhile state.
The Supreme Court verdict is a "resounding declaration of hope, progress, unity for our sisters and brothers in J&K, Ladakh", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna penned separate and concurring verdicts on the issue. (With inputs from agencies)