June 2003 News

Scrap Art 370, says J&K BJP

10 June 2003
The Statesman
Statesman News Service

JAMMU: In a move that could be politically embarrassing for its central leadership, the state BJP today made a vociferous demand for the abrogation of Article 370 in a meeting with the Centre's interlocutor on Kashmir, Mr NN Vohra. It also demanded setting up of a 'definite political instrument' - vested with legislative, executive and financial powers - for the Jammu region. 'We submitted a detailed memorandum to Mr Vohra demanding abrogation of Article 370. We feel this Article has given a wrong message to the Kashmiris for all these years that they are separate from India. Besides, the Kashmircentric system should be changed as the Jammu and Ladakh regions have been discriminated against for all these 55 years,' said the BJP's state president Mr Nirmal Singh. He led the delegation of state leaders to Mr Vohra. Mr Singh urged Mr Vohra not to talk to those who had picked up the gun or who had been voicing separatist ideas. The J&K Panthers Party chief, Mr Bhim Singh, came in for criticism for his efforts to arrange a meeting between the Hurriyat and Mr Vohra. 'If Bhim Singh favours talks with the Hurriyat, then he too nurses anti- India sentiments.' Among other demands that the state unit placed before Mr Vohra are abolition of Evacuee Property Act, greater power to the Army and paramilitary forces, strengthening of Village Defence Committees, revival of Special Operation Groups, and implementation of Pota. Members of Muzzaffarabad Displaced Community, who met Mr Vohra on the third day of his week-long visit to the state, demanded opening of Uri-Muzzaffarabad road. All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference, a body of Kashmiri Hindus, demanded creation of a 'Kashyap state' with Union Territory status during its meeting with the Centre's interlocutor.


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