MHA’s Article 371 position damps BJP’s rhetoric in Jammu

No special status: Jammu has supported the abrogation of Article 370. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and J&K administration’s separate statements on Article 371 are seen as a deliberate move to curb the BJP’s political rhetoric in the Jammu region.

“Jammu region overwhelmingly supported the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A and was being assured by the BJP leaders that a ‘domicile law’ was in the offing to protect their lands, properties and jobs in the form of Article 371,” said J&K National Panthers Party (NPP) chairman Harsh Dev Singh. “But the same has been denied now. The treacherous conduct of the BJP leaders has once again come to fore as a rude shocker for the people of J&K,” he asserted.

A spokesman of the J&K government, in a statement on Sunday, said there was “no proposal under consideration regarding extension of Article 371 to the Union Territory of J&K,” echoing a statement by the MHA.

“The MHA has finally spilled the beans and fully exposed the BJP for its false narrative and subterfuge by categorically ruling out any such proposal,” Mr. Singh alleged.

The NPP leader, also a former minister, warned that loss of employment opportunities was a very serious issue and was “irking the minds of educated unemployed youth”.

“Thousands of U.P. and Bihari labourers and other workers from adjoining States have already settled in J&K, especially in various parts of Jammu region,” asserted Mr. Singh. “While the Centre has indicated its intention to protect the history, culture, lands, jobs of Ladakhis by virtue of the proposed amendment of Sixth Schedule [of the Constitution], its apathy towards J&K is condemnable,” said Mr. Singh.

The NPP’s top leader Prof. Bhim Singh had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi after August 5 and sought to highlight the concerns of the people from the region about land and jobs through a memorandum. “We will continue to agitate the issue,” said Mr. Singh.

BJP’s senior leader Nirmal Singh, a former deputy chief minister, and the party’s State president Ravinder Raina had in separate statements recently advocated for domicile laws and the introduction of laws safeguarding locals’ jobs and land.

Sources said the BJP leaders had been directed to restrict their rhetoric to restoration of statehood to J&K and avoid statements on reallocating any special status to J&K in the immediate future. BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had also hinted that statehood to J&K “will be restored”.

Meanwhile, Congress’s State president G.A. Mir said the Centre should first reveal the names of those who had demanded extension of Article 371. “Who has made such a demand? It seems [to be] a demand which was by the BJP, of the BJP and for the BJP,” contended Mr. Mir.

National Conference leaders have denied that the party was in touch with the Centre over Article 371. “The NC demands restoration of Article 370 and further strengthening of autonomy in its historical context,” said the party’s Member of Parliament Hasnain Masoodi.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 1:11:16 PM |

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