Jammu, Dec 21 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir chapter of the All India Lawyers' Union (AILU) on Saturday demanded immediate restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, release of detained political leaders and restoration of internet services.

It also opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and urged the BJP-led government at the Centre to shun its rigidity on the issue and hold dialogue with the protesters in the larger interest of peace in the country.

"We want immediate restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir with all the state made laws and redressal forums, release of political leaders taken into preventive custody and restoration of snapped internet services," J and K president of AILU Hari Chand Jalmeria told reporters here.

Jalmeria, who was flanked by other office-bearers of AILU's local unit, accused the Centre of denying the freedom of speech to the people in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Denying freedom of speech is unconstitutional and unethical," he said.

Replying to a question about the ongoing protests in the country over the controversial CAA, he said there was no need for such a "divisive law".

"Divisive tactics is not good for the unity of the country. The government has done a wrong by this Act and divided the people of the country," Jalmeria said.

"We want peace in the country and therefore the government should give up rigidity and reach out to the people opposing the Act and initiate dialogue with them," he added.

Jalmeria said the AILU held an executive committee meeting and discussed in detail the prevailing situation in the aftermath of abrogation of Article 370 provisions and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.

"There were special provisions with respect to land holdings, services and education for the state subjects. The present Union government without discussing the matter with the representatives or with the people, or referring the matter to any committee, arbitrarily downgraded the state, without any reasonable justification removed the state constitution, and repealed over 150 state made laws while retaining 166 state laws and introduced 166 central laws.

"This created further anomalies like winding up of the Accountability Commission, the Human Right Commission, Forums under the Consumer Protection Act. Registration of documents so far handled by judicial officers, was handed over to revenue officers," he said.

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