Militancy is “on the decline” in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 and will be “rooted out in the foreseeable future”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.
Addressing an election rally in this north Bihar district, Singh, a former BJP president, said the party has taken to their logical conclusion all issues it has been ideologically committed to – be it the Ayodhya temple, Article 370 or expeditious grant of citizenship to persecuted religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
“That Article 370 should go has been our ideological position since the time of Shyama Prasad Mookerji. We stuck to the stand when the Jana Sangh came into being and remained steadfast in the new avatar the BJP,” he said.
“Once our party formed a government and mustered the numbers in Parliament, we scrapped it in a snap of the finger (chutki bajaakar khatm kar diya),” said Singh, evoking applause from the crowds.
He lamented that despite having enjoyed a special status for so long, J&K, which has now been split into two union territories, remained “backward because of rampant corruption and terrorism”.
“But things have begun to look up. A decline in militant activities has been noticed in Jammu and Kashmir ever since the so-called special status was done away with. In my capacity as the defence minister, I wish to assure all that the menace will be rooted out in near future,” Singh added.
Speaking about the CAA, which had triggered country- wide protests late last year and continued till the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic, Singh said: “We were never in favour of Partition. But there were some powers and also our British colonizers, who made it possible. India retained its magnanimity in treating its minorities well. Not so in the new countries that came into being.”
“Our Sikh, Buddhist and Parsee brethren suffered untold hardships in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. They have been forced to live in penury and constant fear of their womenfolk losing their honour. We had promised to bring in a legislation which would provide them with some succour and we did that,” he said.
About Ayodhya, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said “we had pledged that upon coming to power, we will intervene in a manner that will bring to an end the dispute over Ram Janmabhoomi and remove hurdles in the way of construction of a Ram temple. I need not say we have been successful on this count too.”
Singh lauded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi for having ruled the state for 15 years without any blemish of corruption.