MUMBAI – The common man on the streets of Srinagar was “rejoicing in heart” at the Centre’s historic move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday.
Within six months, people of Kashmir will come out and say what happened in the state is in their best interest, he said here, strongly defending the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to J&K.
He said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been “very kind and liberal” in carrying out preventive measures in J&K after the August 5 decision to defang the controversial Article and split the state into two Union Territories.
The Minister of State in the PMO challenged the observation that there were restrictions imposed across the border state.
To a question about Pakistan ministers threatening nuclear war with India, Singh said their comments may not be truly in proportion with what those in power in the neighbouring country intend to do.
Singh, however, added the whole world knows what it means to play mischief with India with the kind of military and diplomatic supremacy New Delhi enjoys today.
“I can say with all the confidence in my command, within six months you will see, people coming out and saying what has happened in their interest,” Singh said.
He made the remarks at the ‘India Today Conclave 2019’ being held here.
Singh said the decision to scrap the provisions of the Article caused “frustration and desperation” only among those handful who “flourished and thrived through 10 per cent voter turnout in an atmosphere of vacuum which enabled them to carry out their dynastic dominance for three decades”.
He, however, did not name anyone.
The Union minister said restriction is there in Kashmir only on hooliganism or on making statements that will vitiate the atmosphere there.
Singh pointed out that Kashmir’s political stalwart and former Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah was put under house arrest and taken to Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu in 1953.
This was done in spite of Abdullah being “personally very close to” then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he noted.
In that context, as he sought to drive home his point, Singh said Shah as the Home Minister, has been “very kind, very liberal and very lenient” in carrying out preventive measures, including preventive detentions in Kashmir.
“In fact, they (those detained) are even getting the kind of choicest requirement they ask for, including the brown bread for the breakfast and gymnasium set.
“So, this purely preventive. The common man in the street of Srinagar is rejoicing in heart,” he added.
He sought to downplay nuclear rhetoric emanating from India, saying it may sometimes not be equally in proportion to what actually they intend to do as the neighbouring country, too, realises the implication of being aggressive towards India.
Asked if he saw possibility of a war, Singh said, “Saying that we will go to nuclear war does not necessarily mean that we can go to nuclear war. So, it has been like that.”
“But nevertheless, I think, with the kind of military and diplomatic supremacy that India enjoys today, the whole world knows what it means to rake up mischief with India,” he added.