J&K Also Includes PoK & Aksai Chin : Home Minister

An assertive home minister Amit Shah, responding to the debate on the resolution to remove provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, said in the Lok Sabha that there is no question of India giving up its legitimate claims on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “We will give our lives for it,” Shah said, responding to a query on whether the new provisions would also include the PoK.

“Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt about it. When I say Jammu & Kashmir, I include Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, both are included in the territorial boundaries of Jammu & Kashmir.”

Shah clarified that Ladakh, including Aksai Chin, will be a Union Territory. Aksai Chin is a vast area in Ladakh which has been under Chinese occupation and India also rejects a China-Pakistan boundary pact.

He refuted the suggestion that abrogation of Article 370 was “communal agenda” and said the provision in the Constitution was discriminatory and against minorities, women and welfare of the people.

Shah made a strong bid to reach out to the people of Kashmir and repeatedly said that the legislative changes will usher in a new era of development and that Article 370 was the biggest impediment in development of the state and its removal will bring in a new dawn.

“Kashmir is dharti ka swarg tha, hai aur rahega (Kashmir was heaven on the earth and will remain so in future too),” Shah said, asserting that repealing Article 370 is in the interest of the state and also questioned those questioning its removal as he said none of its advocates could cite a single reason as to how it will help the people of the Valley.

Shah assured that if there is disagreement among a section of people of Kashmir over some provisions of the legislation, he will reach out to them with open arms and try to convince them as how the state has been deprived of several benefits due to the existence of Article 370.

“Several crucial legislations passed by Parliament like Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, National Commission for Minorities, Right to Education, NCTE, Land Acquisition Bill and many others have not been adopted by the state of Jammu and Kashmir due to its powers under Article 370,” Shah said claiming that there are 106 laws of the country, which have not been adopted by the state.

Shah asserted that the Modi government will have no hesitation in restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir when normalcy returns. Asked by Congress, he took a dig at the principal opposition party saying, “Article 370 had been adopted by Congress as a temporary provision but it has taken 70 years to repeal it. Modi government will certainly not take that much of time.”

Saying that Article 370 was creating doubts over Jammu and Kashmir’s relations with India, Shah dismissed the opposition charges that the government was committing a mistake, saying, “This is not a historical blunder but we are rectifying the historical blunder.”

He also ruled out talks with the Hurriyat Conference. “We don’t want to talk to Hurriyat, but we ready to speak to people of Kashmir...,” he said. Shah said over 41,500 people were killed in Jammu and Kashmir due to militancy since 1989 and blamed Article 370 and Article 35A for the problem.

Defending the government’s action to put restrictions in the Valley in the last two days, he said law and order situation there has not deteriorated and whatever actions have been taken were all precautionary.

Later, when the bill was passed, Shah tweeted, “I am proud that I am member of an organisation which struggled to retain Jammu and Kashmir as integral part of India. This legislation is true homage to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who sacrificed his life for the state.”

No comments: