Kashmir Sans Jammu Can Become Independent: Jah

NEW DELHI:  A veteran journalist and author today said any tampering with Article 370 will prove fatal for India and India certainly will cease to exist as a viable state in the sub continent.

Prem Shankar Jah told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS that any change in Article 370 should come from Kashmir and not from Indian Parliament.

Jah, who has written extensively on Kashmir,  said that BJP prime ministerial candidate Narindra Modi’s remarks on Article 370 could be seen in the context of prevailing situation developing in Jammu and Kashmir. “There is a real problem that Jammu is inclining towards BJP while secularism prevails in Kashmir. “I think in the long run the only way of safeguarding and making Kashmir fully independent is separating it from Jammu,” he said adding that there is no direct connection between Kashmir’s accession to India and Article 370.

He said that the accession of Kashmir was like 470 other accessions except the promise made to the people of Kashmir by India that it will hold referendum as per their wishes. “The important thing for all of us is that any change in Article 370 will make it impossible for India to have peace with Pakistan. It will have dangerous repercussions for India as it will be permanently injured and its survival as a viable state will cease,” he said.

He said that few changes made into the Article 370 were better for both Kashmiri people as well as for the people of India. “Before the amendments were made into this Article, no Indian was allowed to enter Kashmir without getting a special permit. Similarly, freedom to move, to study and to trade was banned. Amendment to these clauses removed barrier between India and Kashmir,” he said adding that most of the changes made into Article 370 were made by National Conference which ruled the State for so many years.

Prem Shankar Jah said that Article 370 must remain there for a completely different reason, quite apart from the fact that it guarantees Kashmir’s distinct cultural ethnic identity. “Article 370 is very important for Kashmir. May be it does not matter for the two districts of Jammu. There is an understanding between India and Pakistan to soften the borders but any tampering with Article 370 will prove disastrous for India. “Whatever changes India wants in Article 370 should come from Kashmir and not from India. It needs 2/3 majority to change this Article which is impossible in the era of coalition governments,” he said.  (CNS)

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