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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Article 370 needs to be debated, feels state social class

Vikram Sharma, Hindustan Times  Jammu, May 29, 2014
First Published: 23:23 IST(29/5/2014) | Last Updated: 23:25 IST(29/5/2014)

While the war of words escalate between centre and state chief minister Omar Abdullah over the niceties of Article 370, the elite and social representatives of both the regions of the state term it as an exercise in futility unless the core theme of the Article does not opens reasonably into the public domain.

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"For that, the only solution is a debate over the issue. Until the people of the state as well as the entire nation do not know the particulars of the Article, the same would always remain as bone of contention. It is the right time that public should be brought on a common platform for a discussion over it and its finer points be discussed and opinion generated on them," said Avinash Parihar, a social worker from Kishtwar.

"You cannot repeal the Article until the constituent assembly is constituted all over again. The assembly gave its assent to the accession of Kashmir with India," chief minister Omar Abdullah said adding that the state would no longer be a part of India if it was abrogated.

RSS had reacted to his claim though its spokesman Madhav Lal who said whether Abdullah thought the state was his "parental estate" and said no one should take offence to any "open-ended debate" on Article 370.

The voices rising in Jammu, however, have a strong opinion that scrapping or not scrapping the Article is tertiary issue, but the need for debate on it is the need of the hour.

Udhampur development council general secretary Parvez Parihar said the issue should be discussed first and brought into public domain. "Thereafter it should remain for the stakeholder to decide whether there is need for its scrapping off or not. If repealing of the same benefits the state , it should be done and if it does not it should be made favourable for the youth of the state without scrapping it off", added Parihar.

Independent MLA from Bishnah Ashwani Sharma had his opinion straight on its abrogation. "Our stand is very clear that the Article should be abrogated as it has brought more harm for the state rather than any good.

All important parliament issues, which have collateral beneficial characteristic for the development of nation as a whole, fail to enter the state due to its own separate constitution acting as an impediment. Also the handful of familial political groups ruling the state since independence has made wrong use of the Article by imbibing fear psychosis among the people".

The Kashmir social activist also joined the chorus with an emphatic reasoning that the Article needs to be debated among the people of the state and country so that the present generation could be made savvy with the facts contained in it.

"Since the guidelines in the Article have some specific reasons that give the state a unique status, but it has to be learnt first that how this Article came into force in 1926 through Mahraja Hari Singh and what were the statements and opinion of the then political rulers of the country about its existence and its subsequent status," said Gayas-ud-din Shahmeer, a social activist from Budgam in Kashmir, who laid stress on the importance of debate on the Article to understand it and make the entire country also understand.

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