Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat and Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Saturday called for launching a second struggle to seek the scrapping of Article 370 and ensure implementation of the “one nation, one flag, one constitution” for which the “first martyr of independent India,” Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, laid down his life.
Top leaders of the BJP, the RSS and the Shiromani Akali Dal converged at Madhopur near Pathankot in Gurdaspur district of Punjab to participate in a function organised to unveil a life size statue of Mookherjee. The statue has been installed at the site where he launched his struggle in 1953 against the permit system to visit Jammu and Kashmir. The area has been re-christened as “Ekta Sthal,” an official release said.
Mr. Bhagwat emphasised the need to launch a second struggle to abolish Article 370, which he described as the last symbol of disintegration of India. He also demanded rehabilitation of 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Hindu migrants, back in valley, who were suffering in different parts of the country. Appreciating the Punjab government for making an attempt to perpetuate the memory of Mookherjee, the RSS supremo criticised the Union government for ‘soft-pedalling' Pakistan on the issue of terror.
Mr. Gadkari rued that India had not only failed to settle Jammu and Kashmir issue even 62 years after independence, but the policies of the present UPA government were encouraging terrorism and Naxalism. Flaying the government for starting talks with Pakistan under pressure from foreign countries, Mr. Gadkari said all efforts would prove futile if Pakistan continued to foment terrorism from its soil. Demanding the immediate repealing of Article 370, he said the sacrifice of Mookherjee would not go in vein.
The former Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, said the struggle that Mookherjee started in 1953 would end only after Article 370 was repealed. India became a victim of the colonial British policy of disintegrating India, even after Partition.
He recalled the contribution of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the then Home Minister, in integrating the princely States. He warned that autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir or restoring the pre-1953 status would be suicidal for the integrity of the country.