Advani Blogs Art 370 Out22 March 2010
New Delhi: BJP parliamentary party chairman L K Advani has voiced afresh the demand for the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which confers special status to Jammu and Kashmir. This assumes significance in the backdrop of the renewed bid by the BJP to raise the issue in a big way. The party has been pressurising the government against diluting Indian control over Kashmir. Advani reminded that after the sacrifice of Bharatiya Jan Sangh-founder Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, India would not allow the Constitutional clock to be turned back in respect of the state’s integration with India. “Indeed, all that the country wants to achieve now is to move forward to the complete abrogation of Article 370” Advani said. In his blog, Advani wrote, “When in the name of Kashmir’s autonomy, it is said nowadays that the dilution of Article 370, that has taken place post-1953, must be undone it is all these wholesome provisions of the Indian Constitution which are sought to be once again scrapped in their application to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” Advani said though Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India after Independence, the Constitution incorporated Article 370, as a consequence of which the state had a separate Constitution, a separate head of the state and a separate flag. Its head of government, then Sheikh Abdullah, was designated Prime Minister. Even the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, and the Comptroller and Auditor- General had no jurisdiction over the state. Besides, any Indian citizen wanting to visit the state was allowed entry only if he had a permit. S P Mookherjee defied this embargo as the symbol of his challenge to Article 370 and the state’s separatist provisions. At the first national council meeting of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in Kanpur in 1953, Mookherji gave a call for Kashmir’s full integration with India. As he was trying to enter Kashmir, he was confronted by the Jammu and Kashmir Police and asked if he was carrying a permit. Mookherjee told the authorities that as an Indian citizen and MP he had the right to go to any part of India. When the police said that if he proceeded without a permit they would arrest him, Mookherjee told Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was accompanying him, to go back and tell the country that he had entered Jammu and Kashmir without a permit, though as a prisoner! The news electrified the whole country. Tens of thousands of Jan Sangh workers began pouring in from all parts of India, all headed for Madhopur and for Kashmir jails. The campaign lasted nearly two months, as on the night of June 23, 1953, the whole country was shocked to learn that Mookherjee had taken ill while in detention. After a couple of days in bed, he passed away.