NEW DELHI – Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said Article 370 and Article 35A were the “gateway of terrorism” into Jammu and Kashmir which was closed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by abrogating them.
Shah also said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s unfulfilled dream of integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country was accomplished on August 5 when Article 370 and 35A were repealed.
“Article 370 and 35A were the gateway of terrorism in India. Prime Minister Modi has closed this gate by repealing them,” he said while flagging off a run to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Patel here.
Shah, who moved the resolution for abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A in both Houses of Parliament in August, said when India attained independence, there were more than 550 princely states and everyone thought that even though India got independence, the country would be disintegrated.
At that time, Mahatma Gandhi had entrusted Patel the task of integrating the princely states into the Union of India which he completed with distinction, he said.
But one thing remained to be completed and that was the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union of India, he said.
“Article 370 and 35A became a problem in this integration process and no one touched on these subjects. The unfulfilled dream of Patel was realised on August 5 when these two were repealed and the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India was completed,” he said amidst applause of the gathering comprising several thousand people.
Shah said the decision to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A was taken after the Narendra Modi government got a massive mandate in 2019 general elections.
The home minister said for many years, Patel did not get the respect he deserved, he was ignored and there were even attempts to forget him.
Patel was not given Bharat Ratna for many years, his proper statue was not installed, nor his portrait was allowed to be put up, he said.
When Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shah said, he (Modi) started the process of giving due honour to Patel.
Referring to the ‘Statue of Unity’ of Patel located in Gujarat’s Kevadia, he said Modi sourced iron pieces from the farmers, soil from every village of Gujarat and water from various rivers to pay a humble tribute to the man who unified India.
He said the map of India, as it is seen today, is because of the efforts made by Patel to unify more than 550 princely states of the country.
“A unified India came into existence due to Sardar Patel and we humbly remember him today”, he said.
The home minister also administered a unity pledge to the participants of the run.
People wearing white T-shirts bearing Patel’s photo assembled at the National Stadium and the India Gate roundabout here for the run.
In his address, Shah also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as Thursday is her death anniversary.
Shah flagged off the ‘Run for Unity’ in the presence of Union ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Hardeep Singh Puri, R K Singh, Kiren Rijiju and Union Home Secretary Ajay K Bhalla among others.