New Delhi, Apr 9: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asserted that “Kashmir is, was and will always be an integral part of India and thus it cannot have its own prime minister.”
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Rajnath said, “Kashmir will never be separated from India. Kashmir was, is and always will be an integral part of India. There cannot be two prime ministers in the country. It is absolutely clear in our election manifesto that if we form government Article 370, Article 35A will be removed.”
The home minister’s comments came almost a week after former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a speech in Kashmir’s Bandipora, pitched for the revival of the posts of Prime Minister and President for Jammu and Kashmir.
When questioned about Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah’s statements that tampering with Article 370 and 35A will not bode well for India, Rajnath said, “This is their frustration, let them speak what they want, we will go ahead and do what we have to do”. “Maybe they are giving such statements with the elections in mind, as for BJP we have written everything in the manifesto after having discussed it with the Indian people, and we will carry it out when we come back to power,” he added.
BJP in their election manifesto has promised to abrogate Article 370 and do away with Article 35A of the Constitution. The manifesto says that the NDA government is committed to overcoming all obstacles that come in the way of development in J&K. Article 35 A protects the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir with respect to employment, property and aids by the state government whereas Article 370 protects and grants special status to the sovereignty of the state giving the power to make a separate set of laws to be applied for its governance.
Home Minister Amit Shah reviews situation in J&K
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the two-hour long meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba among others, the home minister was given a detailed presentation on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly along the International Border and the Line of Control.
The home minister took stock of the situation and was briefed about the steps taken to maintain peace along border areas as well as in the Valley, a security official said.
Lieutenant General K J S Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, which looks after the Kashmir Valley, had recently said there have been infiltration attempts from across the border.
SC allows Azad to visit J&K
The Supreme Court of India on September 16 allowed senior Indian National Congress leader and former Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit his home state.
The apex court allowed Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu.
However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said Azad will not be allowed to “make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions”.
Azad had moved SC seeking permission to visit his home state to enquire about the well-being of his family.
Azad’s petition was taken up by a bench of CJI Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer on September 16.
There are formidable reasons, says SC on J&K curbs
The Supreme Court asked the government to take all steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed there were “formidable reasons” for the restrictions imposed by the government.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which took up a bunch of petitions on the scrapped special status for the state and its impact, also accepted a request from Ghulam Nabi Azad to travel to four districts to reach out to people and ascertain their problems.
Chief Justice Gogoi also responded to a complaint that people weren’t able to approach the high court, offered to ascertain the situation and if need be, even travel to the state.
Justice SA Bobde, one of the three judges on the bench, responded to the Attorney General’s outline of the situation in Kashmir: “These are formidable reasons. A terrible state of affairs”.
“We trust you will endeavour to establish the situation in Kashmir,” the judge told the Centre, asking the government to file an affidavit within two weeks.
Venugopal rejected the contention by journalist Anuradha Bhasin about curbs on media in Kashmir, asserting that all newspapers were being published without any impediment.
At one point when the judges asked a petitioner why he didn’t approach the high court, the bench was told that the complete shutdown prevented people from reaching the court. Chief Justice Gogoi took serious note of the argument and said he would speak with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Justice to ascertain the facts and if necessary, travel to the state.