Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely on Wednesday said Article 370 could become an instrument of “oppression and discrimination against our own citizens’’ and it was incorrect to perceive the debate on it as a toss-up between the secular and the non-secular.
“Article 370 has nothing to do with secularism. My own study on the subject has revealed a very interesting dimension of how Article 370 can turn into an instrument of oppression and discrimination against Indian citizens,” he said in a post on Facebook.
The BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s call for a debate on the benefits of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a political storm.
The National Conference government in the State has disagreed with Mr. Modi. The BJP has been defending its stand that the law be abrogated.
Mr. Jaitley questioned provisions of Article 370 like Article 35A which, he said, denied residents protection under various Articles, including Article 14 (equality), Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, race or place of birth), Article 16 (equality of opportunity in public employment and reservation), the fundamental rights under Article 19, including the right to free speech and the right to life and liberty under Article 21.