'Article 370, A Curse On The People Of Kashmir'

8 July 2014
The New Indian Express

Chennai: Article 370 is a curse on the people of Kashmir. It has given more suffering to the people than good, according to Gopalji Malviya, dean, School of National Security Studies, Central University, Jammu. He was speaking at a lecture organised by Observer Research Foundation's Chennai Chapter (ORF-C) on 'Jammu and Kashmir: Evolving Scenarios' recently. 'I can challenge anybody to explain the process by which various peace processes formulated to settle Kashmir issue work. The politicians are fooling the people and themselves in the name of peace process,' said Malviya. He added that Jawaharlal Nehru did a historical blunder by taking up the issue to the United Nations. 'We claim it as our territory but we go to the United Nations to settle the dispute in the territory,' he said. He said that it was because of Article 370 that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied various schemes of the Central Government including legislations like Right to Education Act (RTE) and Right to Information Act (RTI). People of Jammu and Kashmir could have been benefited if these schemes were implemented in their territory, he added. According to Malviya, the internal hatred among the Jammu and Kashmir people is the main reason that the issue is still not solved. 'The hatred among the people is higher than the hatred between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq,' he said. Malviya said that the people were made to believe that their territory was a 'disturbed area' and hence they needed to get all products at subsidised rates compared to other parts of India. 'They don't realise that their State's revenue generation is poor and they entirely depend on the Centre's fund,' he said. When it came to divisions in society, it was largely based on religious and social aspects, according to Malviya. 'Jammu is largely a Hindu dominated area but Kashmir has 70 to 75 percent Muslim population, and Leh is predominantly a Buddhist territory,' he said. When a member from the audience asked him about the development potential of the State, Malviya replied that the State had an immense potential for development but there was no political will from the State Government. 'Even the corporates are willing to open their companies but the State is not soft enough to receive them,' he said. Sathiya Moorthy, director, ORF-C, M R Sivaraman, Former Finance secretary of India, Rear-Admiral Mohan Raman and Colonel R S Vasan participated in the discussion.