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National News

Aug 06, 2019

Parliament passes Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill

Parliament has adopted the resolution revoking the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, with Lok Sabha approving it today. 

The Lower House adopted the resolution with 351 members supporting it while 72 voted against it. The Rajya Sabha had adopted a similar resolution yesterday. 

Article 370 gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Lok Sabha also passed The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 through voting. 367 members voted in favour of the Bill while 70 members opposed it.

Replying to the debate, Home Minister Amit Shah said that scrapping of Article 370 is essential as it is a hurdle in connecting Kashmir to India's mainstream.

Mr Shah reiterated that Pakistan occupied Kashmir will always belong to India. He said this very Article is the root cause of terrorism in the Valley. 

The Minister also hailed the Article responsible for the lack of development and corruption in the state. He also termed the Article as anti-women, anti-Dalit, and anti-OBC. Mr Shah also said this Article has only benefitted three families and people who are opposing its removal just want to protect their own interests and not the people of the Valley.

Listing out the drawbacks of the Article, the Minister said nine Constitutional Amendments and 106 laws which are applicable in other parts of the country are not effective in the state which has adversely affected it. He said these include Right to Education, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act as well as political reservation. The Home Minister said with the help of this Article, democracy was muzzled.

Responding to Asaduddin Owaisi's remarks that scrapping Article 370 would be a historical mistake, Mr Shah rejected the apprehension saying NDA government is correcting a historical mistake by this move. He said that after seeing development in Jammu and Kashmir under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the people of the Valley will understand drawbacks of Article 370.

On NCP MP Supriya Sule’s question about what would happen to Jammu and Kashmir’s environment, Mr Shah said India has laws for environment protection and they will be implemented there as soon as Article 370 is revoked. He assured that Jammu and Kashmir will remain 'heaven on earth'.

Mr Shah wondered how scrapping the Article can be a communal agenda as there are Hindus, Sikhs and Jains living in the state. He stated that a minority commission has not been formed there till date due to Article 370.

The Home Minister further said that history will decide if the decision to revoke the Article is right or not, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be remembered by people whenever it will be discussed. He stressed that both Houses of Parliament have a complete constitutional right to make any decision within the boundaries of India.  

Hitting out at Opposition, he said parties are against the move as they want to secure their vote banks.

The Minister said that from 1989 to 1995, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir was at such a high that curfew was imposed for years and years. He said people suffered from a scarcity of food during the period. 

On the Opposition members criticising the government over the curfew in Jammu and Kashmir, he informed that curfew was not put in place because the law and order situation has deteriorated, but as a precaution. He said it has been put in place so that the situation does not deteriorate.

Mr Shah said that as soon as the situation normalises, at an appropriate time, Jammu and Kashmir will regain state status. He said Centre does not want to hold discussions with Hurriyat Conference but is ready to listen to the people living in the Valley.

The Minister assured that the Narendra Modi government has no intention of removing Article 371, which gives special status to Northeastern states to preserve their tribal culture. He added that Naga Accord and Article 370 have no relation at all.

After the passage of the resolution and the Bill, the government withdrew the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill. Home Minister said since Article 370 has been scrapped, the provisions of the Bill will automatically apply in the state.

Earlier intervening in the debate, BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad said it cannot be denied that abuse of Article 370 has become a vested interest. He asked why the people from the Opposition who are talking about Article 370 remained silent when human rights were being violated in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

BJP MP from Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said the move is a rectification of past blunders. He stated that this is for the first time that a government is listening to Ladakh people’s sentiments.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal also supported the Bill scrapping Article 370. He said minorities in Jammu and Kashmir were unhappy and there was no Minority Commission in the state.

TDP MP Jayadev Galla spoke in favour of the Bill and said his party supports the proposed reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir. He said this move will lead to complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India.

BJD extended support unequivocal support to the government. Party leader Pinaki Mishra asked people of Jammu and Kashmir to place trust the Centre.

Intervening in the debate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said it is unfortunate that Congress party is opposing the Bill when the entire country is rejoicing. He accused Congress of speaking in Pakistan’s voice by terming it a dark day for democracy. Supporting the government decision, Nama Nageshwar Rao of TRS lauded it.  

On the other hand, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury questioned the government's move on the issue. Another Congress leader Manish Tewari termed the way in which the central government steamrolled the decision and sprang a surprise on the people of Kashmir. 
T R Balu of DMK also raised fingers on the Centre.  Questioning the government move, TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said no atrocities should take place in Jammu and Kashmir. TMC later staged a walkout.

Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party also hit out at the government over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He wanted to know whether people of Kashmir were happy with the move. 

Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference also opposed the government’s decision saying that the trust of Jammu and Kashmir has been broken. He termed the government move as unconstitutional. 

PK Kunhalikutty of IUML accused the government of implementing communal agenda. NDA ally JD(U) opposed the government move. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised BJP MP from Ladakh, Jamyang Tsering Namagyan for his speech in Lok Sabha today on a motion to scrap the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. 

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, the Ladakh MP coherently presented aspirations of people of the region in his speech. 

Sharing the speech on his Twitter handle, Mr Modi said, his young friend Jamyang delivered an outstanding speech in the Lok Sabha while discussing key bills on Jammu and Kashmir. 

On the other hand, a number of Congress leaders across the country have welcomed abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir by supporting the Centre's move and a bill to bifurcate the state.

Welcoming the move, senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said even though it came late, a historical mistake made at the time of independence had been corrected.

He added that many freedom fighters including Ram Manohar Lohia were against Article 370.

His party colleague Dependra Hooda contended that the abrogation of special status is in the interest of national integrity. He said parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what is best for India's sovereignty and federalism, peace in J&K, jobs for Kashmiri youth and justice of Kashmiris pandits.

Congress MLA from Rai Bareli Aditi Singh termed it a historic decision and urged people not to politicise it. 

Congress chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Bhubaneshwar Kalita quit his Rajya Sabha membership over the issue after the party asked him to issue a whip to all members for opposing the bill. 

It may be recalled that the Congress strongly opposed the move and the bill to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.

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