PATNA – Article 370 was like a “canker” that bled Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday, asserting that more than three-fourths population of the erstwhile state supported its abrogation.
Addressing a “Jan Jagran Sabha” (public awareness meet) organized by the BJP here, where leaders spoke on the Narendra Modi government’s move to strip J&K of the special status, Singh said the party has lived up to its promises.
“As a nationalist party, the BJP never softened its stand on the issue. Article 370 was like a canker (nasoor) which left J&K bleeding. We have now demonstrated that we are an honest and credible party which fulfills its promises,” Singh said evoking applause from the crowd.
He blamed Article 370, and Article 35A which arose out of it, for the state being in the throes of terrorism.
“J&K will now be transformed within five years. In fact, more than three-fourths of its population wanted this provision to go. Our intentions were good and it is no surprise that our move was supported wholeheartedly by our alliance partners,” Singh said.
Cautioning the neighbouring country against promoting cross-border terrorism, in the wake of the recent developments in Kashmir, he said, “Talks with Pakistan will henceforth resume only after it stops promoting terrorism. And it must also keep in mind that J&K is an integral part of India. All discussions will only take place about Pak-occupied Kashmir.”
Notably, the abolition of Article 370 has been one of the key promises made by the BJP in its election manifestos.
It was accomplished earlier this year by a presidential order and the ruling party at the Centre managed to secure a parliamentary nod for bifurcation of the state into Union territories with the help of its coalition partners.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), however, emerged as the lone dissenting voice from within the alliance as it staged a walkout in both the Houses of the Parliament after expressing his disapproval over the Narendra Modi government’s move.
The defence minister also warned Pakistan against “repeating mistakes of 1965 and 1971”, referring to the two wars fought and won against the neighbouring country, and claimed that it ran the risk of getting “dismantled” on account of flagrant violation of human rights.
“We do not need to do anything against Pakistan. It will get dismantled because of the very path it has chosen.
The country will be devoured by flagrant violation of human rights and flourishing terrorism on its soil,” Singh remarked grimly, without elaborating further.
He rubbished the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” theory often used by the neighbouring country to justify militancy in the northern state.
“Let us see how many terrorists they can send (to India). None of them will go back,” he added.
Among others who addressed the gathering here were Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nityanand Rai and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Abrogation of Art370 will help J&K people join mainstream of nation: Nadda
The abrogation of Article 370 would pave the way for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, so far leading lives of second class citizens,to join the mainstream of the nation, BJP working president J P Nadda said here on Sunday.
It is not only a joyous moment for the people of India, but also for those in Jammu and Kashmir because they were leading the lives of second class citizens.
Now they can join the mainstream of the nation,” he said addressing a gathering on the topic “One nation, one constitution at the Palace Grounds here.
Nadda said important laws passed by Parliament over the years, including the Right to Information Act, SC/ST act and those pertaining to domestic violence, will now be implemented there.
“With the abbrogation, Gujjars and Bakharwals can also contest elections. There will be reservations for SC/ST in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly,” Nadda said.
He said abrogation of Article 370 would also give Dalits the right to join the judicial and administrative services, something which they were not allowed to do previously.
“There were provisions that Dalits from Punjab who went to Jammu and Kashmir cannot do any work other than being sanitation workers. This was the injustice committed on them,” he said.
Stating that the world has stood by India on its action of abrogating provisions of Article 370, giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Nadda said Pakistan stands isolated in the world today (on Kashmir issue).
He flayed the opposition parties for ‘spreading lies’ for seven decades that Jammu and enjoyed special status.
“It is not true that Article 370 gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It is a historic lie spreaed by political parties.
If you read the Constitution and Article 370, it’s clearly mentioned there that it is temporary and transitional,” Nadda said.
Kashmir status withdrawn to protect nation’s integrity: Gowda
The BJP’s prime objective of protecting the integrity of the nation and it’s development agenda led to the decision for abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, according to Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.
He said the party had long back started the process to annul both the Articles, which offered special status to J&K.
The minister said that once normality is restored in Kashmir, the Union government would focus on the development of the region.
“Since the abrogation of Article 370, not a single shot has been fired in Kashmir.
The special status accorded to Kashmir earlier had made it a haven for terrorists,” the union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers said.
He was addressing a public awareness programme on Article 370, organised by the Udupi district unit of BJP at Manipal on Saturday.
Gowda said even Congress leaders, including Karan Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, had appreciated the Centres decision on Kashmir.
To a question from a participant on when the union government would implement the Uniform Civil Code in the country, he said the BJP manifesto had clearly mentioned that it wanted the UCC.
The government too desired it, he said.