‘If autonomy for Kashmir, Jammu be separate state’

A Congress minister said there should be a separate state for Jammu if there is talk of greater autonomy for Kashmir.

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2010, 21:31 PM IST

Bani (J&K): Raising the bogey of alleged discrimination against Jammu region on the lines of BJP, a Congress minister in Omar Abdullah government on Sunday said there should be a separate state for Jammu if there is talk of greater autonomy or self-rule for Kashmir.

"You need to come out Kashmir-centric approach. I tell Congress, if you want autonomy or self-rule for Kashmir then you need to separate Jammu as a state and declare Ladakh as a Union Territory," Minister for Health and Floriculture Sham Lal Sharma told a public rally here.
Flanked by the JKPCC chief Saifuddin Soz, Sharma said, "if you talk of greater autonomy then you should first grant regional autonomy. There is great regional imbalance and it needs to be addressed".

There are three regions of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir in the state, but Kashmir is given the major attention, he said drawing huge applaud from the crowd.

"Jammu does not get its share. Kashmir snatches its share and gets lion`s share... So the need is to get united and get your share," he said.
"If you want to maintain peace in the state you need to think over my suggestion," Sharma told Soz.

The minister was first among Congress leaders in Jammu to support Amarnath land row agitation in 2008.

PTI