The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The provocative statement by Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, ruling out any discussion on the question of autonomy to the state of Jammu & Kashmir is highly condemnable. The whole country is interested to allay the fears of the people of Kashmir and restore to them the promises on which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India. Article 370 of the Constitution was specifically drafted for this purpose.
Over the years, the provisions of this Article have seen continuous erosion. This led to a degree of dissatisfaction amongst the people of Jammu & Kashmir which was utilised by the extremist forces and our country's enemies.
The question of autonomy to Kashmir cannot be clubbed with the issue of centre-state relations and giving greater powers to the states within India's federal Constitution. The special status to Kashmir must be accepted. Any attempt to try and negate this will only fuel greater dissatisfaction and bolster extremist activities.
At a time when Pakistan is fully encouraging extremist activities in the state, the home minister's brazenly provocative statement will bolster extremist activities.
The CPI(M) demands that the central government engage in wide ranging consultations to grant greater autonomy to Jammu & Kashmir and ensure the implementation of the provisions of Article 370 of our Constitution. It must be recalled that on an earlier occasion the then Prime Minister, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, on the question of granting autonomy had stated that "sky is the limit". Even the Sheikh Abdullah-Indira Gandhi accord of 1975 recognised the erosion of the implementation of provisions under Article 370 and committed to correct them. In this background, the Vajpayee-led government cannot be allowed to play into the hands of extremists by outrightly rejecting any discussions for granting greater autonomy to the people of Jammu & Kashmir.