Patnitop: Union Minister and BJP national executive member Dr Jitendra Singh on Thursday said that the protagonists of Article 370 were its greatest abusers and accused the Kashmir-centric political parties like National conference (NC) and PDP of selectively raising the bogey of Article 370 when it suited them, but ignoring it by their convenience.
With regard to elections in J&K, he said that this was the sole prerogative of the Election Commission of India to decide about the schedule of assembly elections in the Union Territory but the BJP cadre was ready for it (polls) any time.
Addressing the BJP workshop on the topic of “Abrogation of Article 370”, Dr Jitendra Singh cited striking examples to expose hypocrisy and duplicity of some of the leaders with regard to Article 370.
He recalled, “In 1975, when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed an emergency in the country and brought in a constitutional amendment to extend the term of Lok Sabha and State Assembly from 5 years to 6 years, the then Chief Minister of J&K Sheikh Abdullah immediately adopted this amendment without caring for Article 370.
However, when the same amendment was reversed by Morarji Desai after becoming Prime Minister in 1977 and the term of Lok Sabha as well as State Assembly was reverted back to five years, in J&K Sheikh Abdullah used the alibi of Article 370 and special status to ensure that the Assembly term was not reverted back to five years. This anomaly also got corrected only after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5th, 2019.“
Similarly Dr Jitendra cited examples to substantiate how certain laws were immediately picked up by the NC-Congress government, notwithstanding Article 370, while others were not applied for extraneous considerations.
For example, he said, the “National Conference leaders, raised a lot of hue and cry over the alleged misuse of Centre's anti-terrorism laws against the people of Kashmir but conveniently forgot that it was Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister who was the first to implement POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act ) in the then state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Union Minister urged the historians and analysts to find out why central laws like Child Marriage Act, POSCO (Protection of Child from Sexual Offences) or Anti-dowry Act were not implemented under the garb of Article 370.
Contrary to the predictions made by them that there would be bloodbath, if Article 370 was removed, Dr Jitendra cited figures to state that the number of stone pelting incidents reduced from 2009 in 2019 to 173 in 2021 and only 5 in the first quarter of current year 2022.
“The incidents of terrorist violence were 417 in 2008 and 255 in 2019 but reduced to 229 in 2021 and 31 in the current year of 2022,” he said. On the development front, he said, for example, the pace of road construction increased from 25321 kilometres to 41141 kilometres and average mechamadisation of road per day increased nearly four times in the last three years.