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Indira-Sheikh accord a milestone event: Vohra

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Terming the 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord as a milestone in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, the state governor N N Vohra has said such decisions can be taken only when state and national interest could overtake other considerations.

"I view this accord as a milestone event in the long process of dialogue between Delhi and Srinagar," Vohra said while chairing an event to mark veteran diplomat G Parthsarthy's birth centenary year here yesterday.

"It was a historic accord. It was an event which brought Sheikh Abdullah back into the politics of Jammu and Kashmir, into the politics of the country," said Vohra as he lauded the role played by Parthsarthy in the process of the Indira-Sheikh accord.

The accord was signed by Abdullah's emissary, Mirza Afzal Beg, and Parthsarthy, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi's envoy.

It saw Abdullah assume power in Jammu and Kashmir in 1975 after years of estrangement from mainstream politics.

"I cannot imagine in any state a situation where a particular party, regional or national, the constituents of the party would step down to achieve rapprochement which is in the best interest of the state and the country," Vohra said.

"So for that reason alone, we have to look at the accord as a very important milestone in the entire process of dialogue which was commenced by Panditji (Nehru) in his own time and then carried forward by his daughter in her time," Vohra said.

"... Sheikh was very severely criticised and that there were allegations that it is a sell out. My own appreciation, my own understanding that this accord when it came was a very important landmark. One very much wishes, in the manner and style of our political discourse, such things could happen more often when state and national interest could overtake other considerations," Vohra said.

The terms of the accord said the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall continue to be governed by Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

The accord said the residuary powers of legislation shall remain with the State; however, Parliament will continue to have power to make laws relating to the prevention of activities directed towards disclaiming, questioning or disrupting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

The event dedicated towards remembering Parthasarathi in his birth centenary year was also attended by internationally known historian and ex-Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University, Professor Mushirul Hasan, and Parthasarthy's son Ashok Parthsarthy.

Parthasarathy was a former Indian diplomat and author. He served as India's High Commissioner to Pakistan and Myanmar, and was also the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office.

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First Published: Sun, October 27 2013. 14:40 IST