Article 370 Cause of Corruption and Terrorism: Amit Shah

Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was the root cause of corruption in the state, home minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha, while forcefully arguing why its provisions should be removed. He argued that it was the root cause of corruption and terrorism, alienation of the state, an impediment in implementing laws and hurdle for development projects as professionals and industrialists could not settle there.

The government took the Rajya Sabha by surprise on Monday when Shah moved the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, and resolutions on turning the state into two Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Only the J&K Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, was listed for the day’s business.

Shah said the resolutions and the two bills would end bloodshed that saw 41,849 deaths in the state in decades of unrest. Had Article 370 been scrapped, the killings would not have happened. The minister contended that the youth were indoctrinated by ISI and intruders from across the border and have become stone pelters, unlike youth in other states.

“As long as there is Article 370, terrorism cannot be wiped out… This Article is the creator of terrorism. We want to embrace the youth of Kashmir,” Shah said, adding that once industries are set up, there will be jobs for them. The home minister assured the House that once normalcy returns, Jammu and Kashmir will be given full statehood.

Enumerating the various problems caused by Article 370, Shah said unlike other states where migrants from other states cannot even become councillors. “Why this injustice? Due to Article 370, democracy did not percolate in Jammu and Kashmir. Due to it, corruption flourished and grew in the state and reached its zenith, poverty grew while the rest of the country progressed,” he said.

Article 370 prevented implementation of Right to Education, forcing students to move to other states, and Ayushman Bharat. The provision is also anti-women, Dalits and tribals. Shah said Article 370 has prevented implementation of laws applicable to the rest of India. As a consequence, the 73rd and 74th amendments on local bodies elections were not applicable in the state. “After Lok Sabha passes the bill, these amendments will be applicable in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that the 10% reservation for economically weaker sections would automatically come into force in the UTs.

Shah underlined that business houses were forced to keep away from the state as they could not buy hotels, run travel agencies or become tour guides. All this has harmed tourism, including religious tourism. Industries have not come up due to this as non-domiciles could not buy land. Since outsiders cannot do business only those close to the three families could do so and this resulted in high prices of cement and other building material, Shah alleged.

“Police powers in the hands of the Centre is a major thing. It will help not just in controlling public order and terrorism but also in implementing our plans by removing hurdles,” a BJP ministersaid.

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