Just hours after Narendra Modi took charge as the Prime Minister, the MoS PMO, Jitendra Singh came out with a controversial statement on the Article 370. Singh said that the government had started speaking to stakeholders to repeal the Act. “The process of repealing Article 370 has started. We are speaking to the stakeholders,” he said.
Article 370 specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications and ancillary matters (matters specified in the instrument of accession), the Indian Parliament needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. Thus the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.
This unique status is granted to Jammu and Kashmir and similar protections exist in tribal areas of India including those in Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Nagaland.
“The BJP has won more than half of the seats from Jammu and Kashmir. So we will interpret this as an endorsement of the BJP’s stand. Article 370 is more like a psychological barrier,” Singh said.
The repealing of the Article has been a poll promise of the BJP. The BJP has been opposing the special status for Jammu and Kashmir since very long. It had earlier claimed that it could not repeal the Article during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government due to the lack of a majority.
Jitendra Singh said, “Article 370 has done more harm than good. The youth of Kashmir has to be convinced about this. That’s why the honourable PM has called for a debate. Having a debate doesn’t mean we have deviated from what we promised. It just means convincing those who are not convinced.”