Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday (December 11) tore into Congress as he roared over its stand on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and said that there is a need to own the responsibility for the decisions taken for the country. Shah stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet took the decision to scrap Article 370 from the Constitution and neither can “run away” from taking its responsibility years down the line, if the decision is wrong.
The Home Minister blamed Article 370 for the birth of separatism in Kashmir and said that it encouraged separatism in the Valley.
Shah talks tough on Article 370
“They say that if history asks after 40 years, who will be responsible? I tell you, for two centuries, if the decision of Article 370 (abrogation) is wrong, it would be of my government, my decision would be wrong. PM Modi has taken this decision, neither he can run away from it, nor our Cabinet, nor our party. Responsibility has to be owned. When big decisions are taken, then they have to be owned as well and we have to answer to the country as well. History does not pardon anybody,” Shah said while speaking in Rajya Sabha on the J-K Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and J-K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023. The Bill was later amended to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. The Act provides for the reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
Shah noted that there are several states which share border with Pakistan, but are not influenced by terrorism on the other side of the border. He said that Kashmir was affected by terrorism due to the presence of Article 370.
“42,000 people lost their lives, and it was not about their religious identity, whether they were Hindu or Muslim. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar have larger Muslim populations than Kashmir. It wasn't a border issue either… Gujarat shares a border with Pakistan. So, why did separatism flourish in J-K? It was because Article 370 played a role in enabling and encouraging it,” he said.
WATCH AMIT SHAH'S FULL SPEECH HERE
Shah on Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370
The Home Minister lashed out at the Congress for backing Article 370, which was abrogated on August 5, 2019, and asked the grand old party MPs to “come back”, or else “there won't remain even how many are left now”. He was referring to the number of elected MPs in the Parliament.
“Today, the decision (by Supreme Court on Article 370) has also come. Still, they (Congress) say that they don't accept this and that Article 370 was abrogated wrongfully. I can't explain to them what is the reality...Article 370 boosted separatism and separatism led to the rise of terrorism. One wrong decision can be taken but when history and time prove that the decision is wrong, one should come back towards the interest of the nation. I still say, come back otherwise there won't remain even how many are left now (MPs elected to the House),” he said.
Noting that people of the country are watching the Congress, Shah said that PM Modi will return as the Prime Minister in 2024.
“If you want to stick to this decision even today, public is watching - there will be face off in 2024 and PM Modi will become the PM for the third time,” he said.
Shah reiterates Nehru’s ‘mistake’
Amit Shah also spoke about former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and blamed him for Pakistan’s illegal occupation of portion of Kashmir, known as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“Jahan tak tang nazariye ka sawaal hai, desh ki ek bhi inch zameen ka sawaal hai, humara nazariya tang rahega, hum dil bada nahi kar sakte. No one has the right to give away a section of our land to show off their big heart,” Shah said, taking a potshot at Nehru.
Shah also gave a reference to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and said that it was due to Sardar Patel’s intervention that the Indian Army was sent when Kashmir was being invaded by the Pakistanis.
“I want to give a reference to Sam Manekshaw. He said at one place that when the Pakistanis were attacking Kashmir, then he was busy in discussions (don't want to name the person). Sam Manekshaw was present at a meeting in which Sardar Patel told Nehru, "Do you want Kashmir or not?" Then the decision to send the army was taken. If there was no ceasefire at an appropriate time, PoK would not have been there. Why was the matter taken to the UN?” Shah said.
The Home Minister also quoted Nehru’s one of the quotes in which he “accepted his mistake” of taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations, and said, “"After the experience of United Nations, I have come to the conclusions that no satisfactory results can be expected from there. I considered ceasefire decision a good one, but we could not deal with this matter well. We should have had more thoughts on the ceasefire and taken it late. Though, these are the mistakes of the past." This quote is of Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru himself is accepting that he did a mistake”.
“The Supreme Court has affirmed that Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution. I would like to pose a question to those who adhere to Nehru's philosophy: If Article 370 was extremely important, why did Nehru himself use the term 'Temporary' in relation to the article? Everyone who says that Article 370 is permanent is insulting the Constitution!” Shah added.
Shah on two J-K bills
Shah said that 24 seats have been reserved in PoK.
“24 seats have been reserved in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. I am saying this again Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir is ours and no one can take it from us..." he said.
“Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu, now after the new delimitation commission, there are 43 seats. Earlier there were 46 in Kashmir, now there are 47 and in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, 24 seats have been reserved since we PoK is ours..." he added.
(With ANI inputs)