India

When Article 370 was inserted in Constitution, were people of J&K consulted: Ram Madhav

When Article 370 was inserted in Constitution, were people of J&K consulted: Ram Madhav
BJP’s Ram Madhav and Congress’s Manish Tewari at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh Sunday. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

Terming the present situation in Kashmir as a tinderbox waiting to explode, eminent Kashmir experts Sunday condemned the BJP-led government in the Centre for “undemocratically” revoking Article 370 as it spelled and solidified India’s relation with the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

During a panel discussion with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Congress MP Manish Tewari as panellists on ‘Article 370 and the Death Knell of Terrorism’, former R&AW chief A S Dulat and senior journalist Manoj Joshi said former PM Atal Bihari Vajpeyee’s approach of “Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat” was the only way to ensure lasting solution to the issue.

Dulat said Kashmir is numb and its residents are feeling a sense of disappointment with Delhi. He added that the situation was grim and what was being witnessed was ‘quiet disobedience’ wherein Kashmiris were biding for the right time to voice their feelings.

Taking part in the discussion, Madhav said the revocation of Article 370 was done in most democratic fashion, disclosing that political prisoners like former chief minister Farooq Abdullah would be released soon. However, he shied away from any timeframe and said the process to keep the political activity going in Kashmir was on.

Madhav wondered why there was such an extended mourning period over the abrogation of Article 370 and said the detention of certain leaders was not indefinite. “It is weird logic to say that if someone is put under preventive detention then he is anti-national,” he said.

Reacting to Tewari’s comments that the abrogation of Article 370 was bad in law because the Constituent Assembly of J&K put a estoppel in the Constitution of the state that the status of the state’s relation with India could not be altered, Madhav said the Constituent Assembly of J&K was an illegal entity.

Debunking the assertions of fellow panelists that the feelings of the residents of J&K were not taken into account over the abrogation, Madhav questioned, “When Article 370 was inserted in Constitution of India were the people of J&K consulted”?

The statehood of J&K would be reinstated, Madhav said, clarifying that it was felt that there was a need to put the bifurcated state under Central rule for some time, hence the creation of Union Territories. He added, “Kashmiris have lived with Article 370 for seventy years and now they are experiencing life without it. It is a bold step taken by the government and I am sure the new situation will ensure development and complete integration of region with India.”