It was not in interest of nation, says Vice Prez
Rajnikanth equates Modi-Shah with ‘Krishan-Arjun’
JAMMU, Aug 11: Union Home Minister Amit Shah said today that abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir will end terrorism and the State will lead to path of development but maintained that it should have been abrogated much earlier.
“I have no doubts that Article 370 should have been removed. After abrogation of the Article, terrorism will end in Kashmir and the State will march to the path of development. Removal of Article 370 will be beneficial for the country as well as the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” Shah said at the launch of a book on Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu–‘Listening, Learning and Leading’, marking his two years in the office.
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The Home Minister, who also happens to be the BJP president said: “There was not an iota of confusion in my mind on what will happen post the path-breaking move of abrogating Article 370 which granted special Constitutional provisions to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The BJP-led Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has made India free from Article 370,” he said and credited Naidu for handling the situation when he moved the bills first in Rajya Sabha, where the BJP and allies didn’t have a complete ma-jority instead of Lok Sabha, saying he had some apprehensions of a repeat of scenes witnessed during the division of Andhra Pradesh, which was divided into two States-Andhra and Telangana.
“As a legislator there was no confusion in my mind whether Article 370 should be scrapped or not. I firmly believed that the Article had neither benefited the country nor Kashmir,” Shah, who is Lok Sabha member from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, said and maintained that the Article should have been abrogated earlier.
As a Home Minister also, he asserted, there was not an iota of confusion in his mind as to what will happen after Article 370 is scrapped as “I firmly believed that terrorism will end and Kashmir will move forward on the path of development’.
Maintaining that he had some apprehensions while drafting ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019′ (which bifurcated the State into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh) and Resolution for abrogation of Article 370 on how the Rajya Sabha will act when they were introduced there, the Home Minister said it was because of the fact that they didn’t have complete majority in that House.
“Still I had decided we will take the bill first to Rajya Sabha and after that to the Lok Sabha,” he said.
Shah said the unruly scenes in Parliament during division of Andhra Pradesh were still fresh in his memory and he had apprehensions if he will also become a stakeholder of such ugly scenes.
However, giving credit to the deft handling of the affairs of the House that day (August 5) by Naidu, Shah recalled the bill went up to division from debate, but sans any unruly scenes “that would have made the people of the country think whether ethos of the House have been affected.”
“Even today I want to acknowledge Naidu’s efficiency in handling the affairs of the House,” he said.
He also recalled Naidu’s student day politics and his espousing the party’s ideology with regard to Kashmir including agitation launched by him for abrogation of Article 370, saying once a Communist Professor had questioned the Vice President why he was struggling for the State which he had not seen to which Naidu had replied that if one eye can’t see the other, it can feel its pain.
“It was heartening to see Naidu, who had championed the cause for abrogation of Article 370 from his student days, presiding over the House (Rajya Sabha) when I introduced the Resolution for scrapping the Article,” Shah said.
Meanwhile, Naidu also backed the scrapping of special status under Article 370 to Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was in the interest of the nation and should not be treated as a political issue.
“It was the need of the hour and people of the country should stand with their counterparts in JandK,” he said here at the release of his book.
He said now when the bill has been passed he can say that it (abrogation of Article 370) was need of the hour.
“It is in the interest of the nation, for its future, for its security, for its safety. I can say that as a Vice President with considerable experience in public life and now that the Parliament has voted it also,” he added.
Naidu said everyone should think in terms of national interest rather than party interest. Art 370 should not be treated as a political issue but as a national issue that Kashmir is an integral part of India, he said.
“Whatever problems are faced by the people of Kashmir, we have to stand by them and assuage their feelings and see to it that steps are taken to restore normalcy and that the development agenda is implemented at the earliest,” Naidu said.
PTI adds:- The Vice President recalled that Parliament had earlier discussed the scrapping of Art 370 in 1964, with three members from Kashmir calling for its removal saying the State did not benefit from it. He was referring to a news report published by a national English daily from its archives.
“So, irrespective of the parties, everybody supported the resolution at that time. Still it could not happen which is a different thing. Always you must remember history,” he added.
The vice-president cited it to counter criticism that the abrogation happened suddenly.
Naidu said he was gripped by “tension” when the bill came up for discussion on August 5 in the Rajya Sabha since he had to manage the affairs of the House.
“…you know nowadays what is happening. I don’t want to remove the members, use force like what happened on the Telangana-Andhra (bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh) and all,” he said referring to the chaotic scenes witnessed then.
The former Union Minister said he did not want to close the doors, “stopping the Doordarshan (live broadcast), and then removing 30-40 people.. I was praying”.
“Luckily, members from all sides spoke. There was proper voting also, then there was division also and then by two thirds majority Art 370 has been abrogated,” he said.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who spoke at the book release event, indicated that Kashmir was peaceful post the scrapping of Art 370, saying “not even a teargas shell” has been fired.
Top film actor Rajinikanth was also all praise for the Centre on scrapping the special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“My heartfelt congratulations to Amit Shah for Mission Kashmir. Hats off,” he said.
He also compared the Modi-Shah duo to Lord Krishan and Arjun, whose combination is credited with having played a key role in Pandavas’ victory over Kauravas in the Mahabharata.
However, “we don’t know who is Krishan and who is Arjun,” added the actor, who has said he would launch his political party and contest the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
“Only they know who is Krishna and who is Arjun,” the veteran star said.