Abrogation of Articles 370, 35A way to resolve Kashmir problem: Amit Shah

The Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah has said that abrogating Article 35-A was the party’s commitment to the people of the country, a media report said on Monday.

The report quoted Shah as saying that abrogating Article 35A is in the BJP manifesto and has been so since 1950. “It has not happened till now as we do not have a majority in Rajya Sabha, but I believe it will happen by 2020. Removing Article 35A has been in our manifesto since 1950, it is our commitment to the people of the country,” Shah said at the News18 Agenda India Summit, according to the report.

Article 35A empowers the government of Jammu and Kashmir to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and also allows the government to confer special rights and privileges on the people with respect to employment and acquisition of immovable property in the state.

Shah claimed that the BJP has been able to curb militant funding and “radicalisation” in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that the BJP government has banned organisations and plugged funding to curb militancy in Kashmir.

He said that the maximum number of militants have been killed during the BJP rule.

“…and we will continue to do so. Earlier, there were talks of fake Hindu terror…now, the world talks about the terror that emanates from Pakistan,” the report quoted Shah as having said.

Talking about the controversy on the death toll vis-à-vis India’s air strikes across the LoC, Shah said he does not prefer to watch foreign media and only quoted the figures, about the death toll, “of the national media”.  “I quoted the Balakot figures from what I saw on our media channels…I did not watch or refer to foreign media reports,” Shah said.

The BJP president said that abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A is the way forward to resolve Kashmir problem, another media report said.

Shah said that after coming to power in 2014, the government led by BJP took action “against anti-national elements” after peace efforts did not materialise. The action, he said, included the banning of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and Jamaat-e-Islami and raids by National Investigation Agency.

The government also withdrew the security of separatists in the valley, he said. Shah’s comments came a few days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir is the root cause of the crisis in the state. He held country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru responsible for granting special status to the state.

However, Jaitley’s remarks drew criticism from the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. Warning the Centre, she said if Article 370 is revoked, the relation of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India would be over.  Meanwhile, the summit where Shah spoke was attended by other leaders like Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat and Opposition leaders Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari among others. Agencies