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NC to set up panel to discuss autonomy

By Our Staff Reporter

JAMMU, JAN. 20. The National Conference has decided to constitute a four-member committee for holding talks with the Central Government on autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision follows the announcement by the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, to hold talks with the party on the issue.

The National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, told The Hindu that the committee members would represent various parts of the State.

The Central Government had taken a big step by starting discussions on the issue and it would go a long way in addressing the genuine political aspirations of the State and the National Conference would rise to the occasion with an open mind. Mr. Abdullah said that he would not be part of the committee.

The committee would put forward its demand for according the pre-1953 status to Jammu and Kashmir. "The more federal States become in India, the more unity it would infuse among the people of the country. I firmly believe that a federal experiment carried out in the State of Jammu and Kashmir by giving autonomy can become a role model for rest of the country," he said.

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