Amit Shah, in his reply to the Lok Sabha yesterday on the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization bill, emphasized on the necessity of passing the said Bill. He clarified on various matters raised by the members of the Parliament and reiterated the concerns which demanded the stripping of Articles 370.
Amit Shah’s bold statement declaring that when he mentions Jammu and Kashmir, he means it in its geographical entirety, including PoK and Aksai Chin, as a reply to Congress’s Adhir Chowdhury’s remark, created quite a stir on mainstream and social media. But apart from that, Shah’s speech also highlighted some very important aspects explaining the government’s decisions regarding Article 370 and the bifurcation.
1. On people who support Article 370
Shah labelled Article 370 as an instrument for discriminatory practices. He said, “What equality does Article 370 stand for? When Kashmiri Pandits were thrown out of Kashmir because Article 370 was in place, where was the idea of equality? Those who support Article 370 are anti-Dalit, anti-tribal, anti-women and anti-education.”
2. Infringement of rights
Shah also remarked that as a consequence of Article 370, children in Kashmir were being deprived of basic rights. He said, “All children of the age group of 6 to 14 years have the right to read but the children of Jammu and Kashmir do not. What has this section 370 done? Have you ever gone deep?” He added that child marriage is still rampant in Kashmir.
The Union Minister also asserted that the Article denied the minority communities in the region of their rights. He stated, “It was said that removal of Article 370 was a communal agenda. Do not Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs live in Jammu and Kashmir? Not forming minority commission there due to Article 370 is an injustice to minorities.”
3. Enough discussion, it was time for action
Shah asserted that debate had been raging about the Article for decades. Therefore, it was time to act. He said, “Debates have been happening for three generations. How long do we discuss it? Should we ask the people who take inspiration from Pakistan? We are not against debate but there should be a solution as well.” He further made it clear that the government is open to restoring the statehood status to J&K once circumstances normalized. He said, “Once the state of affairs normalizes in J&K then the status can be changed from Union Territory to state.”