AURANGABAD – When in force, Article 370 of the Constitution denied fundamental rights to Jammu and Kashmir residents and the controversial provision was revoked in a “democratic” manner by the Modi government, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Monday.
When the issue came for discussion in the 1950s, the entire Congress Working Committee expressed opposition to the proposal to give special status to Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
However, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru pushed for the provision and CWC members had to agree for special status for Jammu and Kashmir, he said at a lecture organised by the Rashtriya Ekta Abhiyan here in Maharashtra.
Nehru had asked Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister, to intervene in the matter and seek the CWC’s support for Article 370, the BJP leader claimed.
Opposition leaders and others who are criticising nullification of Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, should explain whether its provisions were implemented in a democratic manner, he said.
Courage was needed to revoke Article 370 which the Congress could not display, the BJP leader said, adding the provision was tinkered with as many as 45 times by constitutional method all these years.
“Abolition of Article 370 was on our agenda for five decades, we stuck to it and we did it in a democratic manner,” Madhav said.
“Residents of Kashmir were deprived of all those fundamental rights which are enjoyed by every countryman since January 26, 1950 (when the Constitution came into force).
“If there would have been Article 370 here in Aurangabad, it would never have been an industrial city. No big investment came to J&K since 1950s and Article 370 was a key hurdle to it,” Madhav said.
People advocating human rights talk about injustice when the Internet was shutdown in the Valley, he said.
“But where were these people when Article 370 denied reservations to Scheduled Tribes in the state, when women of J&K were deprived from marrying non-Kashmiri men,” Madhav asked.
The BJP leader criticised AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, saying he was given full chance to speak in Parliament when revocation of Article 370 was being debated in early August.
“Why he is still thinking that our way to abolish Article 370 was incorrect. We detained almost 2,500 people in the Valley. Only 200 of them are under detention now and all amenities are being provided to them,” Madhav said.
“Very few areas have restrictions now. The government will normalise the situation there as early as possible,” the BJP leader said.
“In 1994, an unanimous decision was taken that the only point left to discuss with Pakistan is when they will handover illegally Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) to India and there was a Congress government in the country at that time.
“Leaders of opposition are unable to recollect it, they should peep into history,” Madhav said. (PTI)