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370 hindering JK’s development: Modi

‘Kashmir issue limited to just two-an-a-half districts’

Monitor News Bureau

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New Delhi, Apr 9: The people of Kashmir ‘want a change, including Article 35A and Article 370’ as they hinder development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“The problem in Kashmir is largely due to the 50-odd political families there. They have been milking the issue. They don’t want any benefit to be given to the common Kashmiri people. They are using public sentiment for political gains. The income tax department has cracked down on such elements,” Modi said in an interview with News18 Network Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi.

He said that people of Kashmir “want freedom from political families.”

 

“While stone-throwers are funded by Pakistan to protect militants, when there is crackdown by the NIA on terror operators, people stand outside their homes and clap. People of Kashmir want freedom from such political families who have been preying on their emotions for 50 years. The situation in Kashmir is such that people want change, whether it is about Article 35A or 370,” Prime Minister said.

Modi said it was the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies which were an obstacle for the development in the Valley.

“There must be investment and job opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. 35A, 370 have been standing in the way of development. No one goes there to invest. We can build IIMs, but professors are not ready to go there as their children don’t get admission in schools. They can’t find homes. This ends up harming the interests of J&K. Pandit Nehru’s policies stand as an obstacle for J&K today. It needs to be reviewed,” the Prime Minister said.

Blaming Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have better handled the Kashmir issue and the Valley would not have remained ‘mired in controversy’.

Blaming Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have better handled the issue and the Valley would not have remained ‘mired in controversy’.

He added that it was imperative that people in the rest of the country see ‘the progress’ in Kashmir. “Kashmiris have excelled in sports and competitive exams. Any top university today has Kashmiri students. We must encourage this.”

Modi also said the conflict in Kashmir valley “was limited to just ‘dhai’ (two and half) districts”, and the state largely remained stable under the BJP government. “There is no problem in Ladakh and Jammu. It is only two-and-a-half districts in Kashmir valley where there is a problem. We see these districts as the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. This narrative must change,” Modi said.

Modi claimed the BJP government had continued spending on development in the valley and had dealt with the state in a fair manner. “India has not done anything that should make Kashmir feel neglected or ill-treated. But we must treat this issue with sensitivity and understanding.”

In its manifesto, Sankalp Patra, the BJP has promised the abrogation of Article 370 if the party retains power in the Lok Sabha elections.

Targeting the Congress’s manifesto over its proposal of reviewing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said revoking the Act would be equivalent to sending soldiers to the gallows.

“The government must have the power to protect its armed forces. Only then will they have the morale to fight. Revoking AFSPA would be like sending our soldiers to the gallows. I won’t let this happen,” Modi said.

Emphasising on the need for the Act in a disturbed area such as Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said the government must first create an environment where AFSPA is unnecessary before revoking or diluting it. He also gave the example of Arunachal Pradesh, where the government partially revoked the Act earlier this month.

“First, we revoked it from a few districts in Arunachal. We then revoked it from a few other states. We were the first government to take such a step since 1980. But we have maintained law and order,” Modi said.

The Congress election manifesto, released last week, proposed a review of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. It also promised revocation or amendment of several other laws like sedition and defamation. This led to condemnation from BJP leaders. However, the Congress clarified it only intended to modify AFSPA in instances of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Following the release of the grand old party’s manifesto, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the vision document was full of “dangerous ideas” that could lead to the “Balkanisation” of India. Jaitley went on to say that it seemed the Congress manifesto was drafted by the “Tukde Tukde Gang”, an oft-used BJP euphemism for those whom the party felt were working against the integrity of the nation state.

Modi took a similar view on the matter and said the Congress manifesto was ‘soft on terror’. “We are at the crossroads of eliminating militancy. Militants are demoralised and we are winning a psychological war against them,” he said.

Modi also said the Congress party’s views on the army were akin to that of Pakistan. “No patriot will tolerate this language. Their manifesto talks about removing AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. This amounts to removing weapons from a soldier’s hands,” he added.

The AFSPA provides special powers such as arrest without warrant, fire upon or use force against those acting against law and order, legal immunity, among others, to armed forces in a disturbed area. The Act has come under the scanner for human rights violations in regions of effect.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said there will be no option with the government other than abolishing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution if there is a demand for a separate Prime Minister for the militancy-affected state.

Earlier, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said that his party would strive for restoring the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir that includes having a ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister).

“Someone who has been chief minister for a long time has said that there should be a Prime Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. If someone talks like that, we will have no option other than abolishing Article 370 and Article 35A,” Singh said.


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UN chief could discuss Kashmir issue at UNGA: UN spokesman

Press Trust of India

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to use the opportunity of discussions during the high-level UN General Assembly session that begins here next week to raise the Kashmir issue, the UN chief’s spokesperson has said.

Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric during the daily press briefing here on Thursday said that the UN chief has underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue and, “as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well.”

“…On Kashmir, the Secretary General… has said previously, he remains engaged. I think he will also use the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it,” Dujarric said, responding to a question on the situation in Kashmir.

On Wednesday, Guterres emphasised that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for reaching a solution on the Kashmir issue, and said his good offices are available should both sides ask for it and called for full respect of human rights.

“Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Guterres said during his press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly session.

Guterres was asked by a Pakistani journalist about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and what will he do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory, and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem,” he said.

India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

The UN Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both sides ask for it.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to speak on the same day.

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Amid Kashmir tensions, India will participate at SAARC meeting in New York

Press Trust of India

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NEW DELHI: Amid heightened Indo-Pak tensions, India will participate at the SAARC foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, officials said on Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will be present in the US next week and will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Officials said India will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation foreign ministers meeting that is scheduled for September 26.

The meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA could bring Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi face to face for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

Asked about a possible meeting with his Pakistani counterpart as well as the future of the SAARC regional grouping, Jaishankar, at a press conference earlier this week, had said, “if and when I meet Pakistani Foreign Minister, we will see at that time what happens”.

The SAARC is about regional cooperation and that refers to trade, MFN, connectivity etc.

, he had said, adding that now every member knows which country is promoting SAARC and which one is impeding it.

Last year, then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had attended the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting, usually held on the sidelines of the UNGA.

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Plea alleges detention of children in Kashmir, SC seeks report

Agencies

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought a report from Jammu and Kashmir High Court on the alleged detention of children in Kashmir during curbs following the scrapping of Article 370 in the state on August 5.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing child right activists Inakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha who have alleged detention of children in Kashmir, had on September 16 told the apex court that people in the Valley are not able to approach the high court there.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would entertain the petition regarding alleged detention of children in Kashmir as the plea has raised “substantial issues” regarding minors. The top court directed the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to file a report before it within a week on the issue.

The Supreme Court also said it had received a report from the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and claims that people are unable to access the court there are not supported.

“We have received the report from the chief justice (of Jammu and Kashmir High Court) which does not support your statement,” the bench also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

The Supreme Court also sought response from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea challenging detention of five persons in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, to file his response.

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