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Article 370: Amit Shah welcomes SC verdict, terms it a tribute to martyrs



Article 370: Amit Shah welcomes SC verdict, terms it a tribute to martyrs

Article 370: Amit Shah welcomes SC verdict, terms it a tribute to martyrs

Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict on the abrogation of Article 370, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 11 said the decision is a tribute to those who were martyred fighting for “One Constitution, One Flag and One Prime Minister” for the country.

He was replying to a debate in Rajya Sabha on two Bills related to Jammu and Kashmir — the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill. The Upper House passed both Bills, which were passed in Lok Sabha last week. Opposition members walked out, protesting Mr. Shah’s remarks against former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress party and also for taunting the Opposition party over huge seizure of cash from the premises of one of its MPs.

Mr. Shah said it was an important day written in golden letters in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the country, as the Supreme Court has approved the entire process of abrogation of Article 370. Mr. Shah said the Opposition’s stand was not for justice for Kashmir but for delaying the implementation of the decision of the Centre. “Our stand on Article 370 was consistent since 1950. The Congress and the communists alleged that we were trying to take political advantage by taking such a stand. But the Supreme Court made it clear that Jammu and Kashmir had no special status at all,” he said.

The Centre’s vision is to focus on the development of the youth of Kashmir, he said. “They will not have to take weapons or stones. We will give them laptops and avenues for jobs and education. We are for changing Kashmir’s future,” he said amid applause by members of treasury benches.

He maintained his stand that the Centre will facilitate elections and restore J&K’s statehood at an appropriate time. The Home Minister said the Congress was trying to find some solace in the Supreme Court’s direction to the Election Commission to hold the elections. “We have been maintaining that we will hold elections and will return the statehood at an appropriate time. The Opposition is now trying to make something of this direction and is trying to find victory in an utter defeat,” he said.

Continuing to point fingers at Nehru, Mr. Shah said those who follow and admire the late leader should also explain why the word “temporary” was used before Article 370. He said those who say that Article 370 was permanent are undermining the Constitution.

Terrorism and separatism

Stating that more than 42,000 people were killed in Kashmir due to terrorist activities, Mr. Shah said separatism was the reason for terrorism. He said there are more Muslims in States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and States like Rajasthan bordering Pakistan. “But there are no issues of terrorism in those States. Article 370 promoted separatism and it resulted in terrorism,” he claimed and maintained that mistakes can be made by anyone, any parties but they have to be corrected. “I urge Congress to correct its mistakes,” he added.

While there had been 7,217 terrorist attacks in the 10 years of UPA regime, it came down by 70% to 1,297 events during the 10 years of the NDA period, he noted.

Stating that the government has a zero-terror plan, the Home Minister said the Centre will take a considerate view if terrorists surrender their weapons and come to the mainstream. However, he added that no government employment will be provided for members of families involved in stone pelting and terrorist activities.

The Home Minister also maintained that the Centre is committed to bringing back Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. The registration process is online and more than one lakh people have already registered, he said, urging Kashmiri Pandits to come back and be involved in the political and administrative processes in the State.

On Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), he said the area belongs to India and no one can take it away from the country. “We have kept 24 seats for PoK after delimitation,” he said.

Praising the contribution of people from Gujjar and Bakkarwal communities in the fight against terrorism and foreign occupation, he said education and employment opportunities will be provided equally for people from both communities. He said three families were obstructing the governments from providing reservation and other facilities to tribal people in the State and they were enjoying Article 370.

Further criticising Nehru’s actions concerning Kashmir, Mr. Shah said no one has the right to give away a part of the country to show his kindheartedness. Nehru was looking after Kashmir and left it half-done, he added.

“He wanted to give a chance to Sheikh Abdullah and that was the reason why there was a war. Army deployment was delayed,” the Home Minister charged and added that inviting UN attention to an internal matter was also wrong, he said. “We are sensitive to the future of Kashmir, its youth. Congress’s sensitivity was towards those who wield weapons,” he said.

‘Changes aplenty’

Stating that there have been a lot of changes in J&K, Mr. Shah said that while the national flag was not allowed to be hoisted in the Valley, now campaigns like har ghar tiranga were a big success; while no theatre had been operational, they are up and running now and shooting for more than 100 films have been done in the Valley locales in the past three years; the number of tourists have increased manifold and tourism infrastructure has improved; more than 1,000 homestays run by local Muslims are accommodating people from all States; Moharrum procession could be held after 30 years; more colleges, including IIT, IIM and medical colleges, were opened. “Opposition cannot see this,” he said, remarking that it is difficult to find proper glasses for their problem.

Earlier, during the debate, the Opposition questioned the Centre’s intentions and said by not holding the elections, the Centre is admitting that things are not normal in the Valley. There was a ruckus over a comment by DMK MP M. Mohamed Abdulla. During his speech, he quoted the ideologue of Dravidian politics, Periyar; this was later removed by Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. Congress too distanced itself from the comments.

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