Resolution revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir passed in Lok Sabha
Resolution revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir passed in Lok Sabha

Parliament passes J-K reorganisation bill, Shah says Article 370 throttled democracy

ANI | Updated: Aug 06, 2019 22:00 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 6 (ANI): The Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories and a resolution to repeal controversial Article 370 with Home Minister Amit Shah stating that the said Article had "throttled" democracy in Kashmir and its repealing will entail extension of 106 central laws to Jammu and Kashmir.
The passage of Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019 and adoption of the resolution to repeal Article 370 in Lok Sabha was greeted by loud thumping of desks and exchange of greetings by BJP members, who earlier gave a standing ovation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he entered the House before the reply statement by Shah.
The bill and resolution considered historic and with long term implications, was adopted by Rajya Sabha on Monday. The repeal of Article 370 has also led to abrogation of Article 35 A related to "permanent residents".
The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die after the passage of the bill. Shah withdrew the bill to provide 10 per cent quota to economically backward sections in Jammu and Kashmir saying that there was no need for its passage as the bill will automatically extend to Jammu and Kashmir on repeal of Article 370.
The bill was passed through division with 370 members voting in favour of the bill and 70 against, in the final vote. Parties such as BJD, YSR Congress, TDP, BSP supported the bill. Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and JD-U, an ally of BJP, staged a walk out.
Replying to the spirited debate, Shah said Article 370 was a temporary provision but had not been repealed to protect interests of "three families".
"Who stopped central Acts from being extended to Jammu and Kashmir. It was done to keep (the rule of) three families. Article 370 was used to throttle democracy," he said.
Shah said 41,500 persons have been killed in terror related violence since 1989 .
"The terrorism spread due to Article 370. Do we want to walk on the same path? We walked on the same path for 70 years, what was the result? Who is responsible?" he asked.
Referring to concerns of opposition members over the division of the state into two union territories, he said that there has been demand from Ladakh for UT status and the government was willing to again make Jammu and Kashmir a state once normalcy returns.
"We have no objection to make it state again after return of normalcy," he said.
As opposition members asked for a time period, he quipped it will happen before 70 years.
The Home Minister said the provision prevented state's proper integration with the country
Shah said Pakistan has used Article 370 to fan terrorism in Kashmir and `Operation Tupac' by former Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq to start proxy war against India had referred to Article 370 and Article 35 A.
In his over hour long-reply, which was cheered by BJP members, Shah said if India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had not declared unilateral ceasefire following Pakistan's invasion in 1948, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir would have been part of India.
He also said that India had gone to the UN on the insistence of Nehru.
Attacking the opposition parties, he said none of them could say what were the advantages of keeping Article 370.
"It is against democracy, increases poverty, discourages tourism, hampers education apart from being anti-women, anti-Dalit and a provision that nourishes terrorism," he said adding that its repeal will bring investment to the state, create education facilities, boost tourism, increase land prices and create employment.
He said that the Article has prevented laws for welfare of people passed by Parliament being extended to the state.
"One hundred and six laws including constitutional amendments could not be extended," he said, adding that laws prohibiting child marriage, right to education, right to information and about teachers training had not been extended to the state due to Article 370.
He said delimitation had taken place all over the country but not in Jammu and Kashmir because "vote banks" would have got impacted.
Shah ruled out any talk with Hurriyat Conference and said that the Centre will talk to the people of state to address any grievance. He said that the demand for referendum had ended with Pakistan's invasion and the UN has accepted it.
He said the government will not talk to those "who take inspiration from Pakistan" and it does not want to talk to Hurriyat Conference.
"We will talk to people. They are our people," he said, adding that the prime minister had a big heart and Rs 80,000 crore have been spent from Rs 1.25 lakh package announced for the state.
Shah said Modi government had demonstrated political will by bringing the bill and the resolution to repeal Article 370.
"I bow to strong political will of prime minister," he said.
Shah also stated that Article 35 A was an impediment to free will of marriage of girls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah said there has been no dilution in India's stance that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir was an integral part of the country and 24 seats in the state legislature continue to be reserved for representatives from the area.
Responding to points made by Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury about the involvement of UN on Kashmir issue, Shah said that India and Pakistan had accepted UNGIP in 1948.
He said one of the provisions of the UN proposal was that the armed forces will not violate the borders and its sanctity ended with 1965 invasion by Pakistan.
Shah said the government had no intention to change provisions in Article 371 related to various states including Nagaland and Sikkim.
Referring to remarks of Congress member Shashi Tharoor, he said the dark day was when Emergency was imposed and the entire "country turned to Union Territory".
With Tharoor referring to advisories against travel to Jammu and Kashmir issued by foreign governments, Shah said the government has taken the decision in the national interest.
He said curfew and other restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir had been imposed as precautionary measure and did not reflect deterioration in the law and order situation.
Rejecting suggestions that BJP has communal agenda, he said resolution has been brought to correct a historical mistake.
Referring to `Iron man' remarks aimed at him, Shah said he was an ordinary party worker and is very content and happy with that.
He said that some files relating to Jammu and Kashmir Bank have been unearthed after the imposition of President's Rule and "some faces were getting cold sweat".
Shah said leaders like Madhu limaye and Ram Manohar Lohia had opposed Article 370. "Were they not secular," he asked.
He said Article 370 had prevented refugees to Kashmir from Pakistan getting their rights and said two of them, who had migrated to Punjab, had become Prime Ministers.
Participating in the debate, Congress member Shashi Tharoor compared the centre's move of abrogating the special status to Jammu and Kashmir to 'demonetisation' announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016. He also termed the day as "black day".
Congress member Manish Tewari said that division of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories was a "constitutional tragedy" and Article 370 cannot be repealed without consulting the now-dissolved constituency assembly.
Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Pralhad Joshi and Jitendra Singh were among those who took part in the debate. (ANI)