BJP Seeks Permanent Closure Of Cross-LoC Trade

JAMMU — The Jammu and Kashmir BJP Monday pitched for permanent closure of cross-LoC trade, currently suspended on the direction of the Centre, saying it has developed into a channel to foment trouble and sponsor illegal and unwanted activities.

The saffron party also launched a scathing attack on National Conference and PDP leadership for their stand on Article 370 and Article 35A which, according to the BJP, have lost their relevance and time has come for their “removal for good”.

Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws concerning the state, while Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define ‘permanent residents’ for bestowing special rights and privileges on them.

“The cross-LoC trade has brought countless miseries to the state as it has developed into a channel to foment trouble and do illegal and unwanted activity. Its suspension should pave the way for its permanent closure,” BJP state spokesperson Brig (Retd) Anil Gupta told reporters here.

On April 18, India indefinitely suspended cross-LoC trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir following reports that it was being “misused” by elements from across the border to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

The LoC trade across Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district of the Jammu region and Salamabad in the Baramulla district of north Kashmir was intended as a confidence-building measure for the population living in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

BJP state spokesperson on Kashmir Affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo and another state spokesperson Balbir Ram Rattan also addressed the press conference.

“The BJP would like to reiterate that Article 370 and Article 35A have lost their relevance, if they had any, and time has come for their removal for good. They have been a basis to mislead the people about the constitutional and political status of the state and thus create a situation where the younger generations would be prone to political blackmailing and exploitation,” Chrungoo said.

He said these provisions cannot be allowed to provide an alibi for “separation, hatred, misuse of power, gender bias and infringement of fundamental rights” guaranteed by the Constitution.

“The Article 370 and Article 35A need to go on the first available opportunity once the government has the necessary legislative numbers,” he said.

On PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti’s recent remark that Article 370 is the basis of the state’s relationship with the country and that if the prime minister thinks Kashmir is in loss because of it, then they should leave Kashmir, Chrungoo said her comments are not only unwarranted and unwanted but are also bereft of normal political sagacity.  (PTI)

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