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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Article 370 row gets bigger, RSS jumps in

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times  Nagpur, May 28, 2014
First Published: 17:01 IST(28/5/2014) | Last Updated: 08:33 IST(29/5/2014)

The RSS on Wednesday said though it wants Article 370 scrapped, it was not in a hurry to push for its repeal but wants a debate on whether the country stands to lose or gain by scrapping it.

"We want a discussion on the issue and its relevance. In a democracy, debate and discussion are healthy signs," said a senior Sangh leader on the condition of anonymity.

The RSS, which is the ideological mentor of the BJP and other Sangh outfits, mobilised a vast army of volunteers in the Lok Sabha election and helped the saffron party secure a spectacular victory. Abrogation of Article 370 and construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya have been the staple of BJP poll manifestos.

Reacting to Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah's remarks that the state will not remain part of India if the Article 370 was scrapped, senior RSS leader Ram Madhav said the state will always be an integral part of India with or without the provision.

Read: Name stakeholders involved in repealing Article 370, Omar Abdullah tells Centre

"J&K won't be part of India? Is Omar thinking it is his parental estate? 370 or no 370, J&K has been and will always be an integral part of India," Madhav said on Twitter.

The row erupted after Jitender Singh, a BJP MP from Jammu and MoS in the Prime Minister's Office, said the process of repealing the Article 370 had begun and discussions were being held with "stakeholders concerned" in the state.

RSS ideologue MG Vaidya said Narendra Modi had called for a debate on the Article in his election campaign in Jammu and there was no harm in discussing its relevance. He said that the Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Constitution and it had been diluted since 1954.

"The IAS and IPS officers are working in the valley. Moreover, the verdict of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly can be challenged before the Supreme Court of the country and the Union government can impose President's rule if such a situation arises," he said and asked why should the state get the special status.

According to Vaidya, the government should also interact with the people of Jammu and Ladakh on the issue.

"If these two regions don't want such a provision and people of Kashmir maintain their rigid views, then Ladakh and Jammu be separated from the state," he said.

Former RSS pracharak Virag Pachpore echoes Vaidya's views, saying "if Article 370 is not serving any purpose for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, why should it continue?"

Read more:
Article 370 abrogation: Mission Impossible for BJP?
Analysis: Is it the right time for Modi govt to pick on Article 370


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