Lok Sabha endorses Centre’s decisions on Kashmir

President’s declaration ending special status under Art. 370 notified in gazette
The Centre’s decisions setting new terms of engagement with Jammu and Kashmir — by reorganising it as Union Territories, ending its special status under Article 370 and 35 (A) and extending to it all the provisions of the Constitution — were endorsed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday after a debate that lasted close to seven hours. The Lok Sabha approved a resolution abrogating special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and a Bill for splitting the State into two Union Territories. The resolution was adopted by the House with 351 members voting in its support and 72 against it, while one member abstained. The Bill to create the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was passed by 370 votes in favour and 70 against. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House. The President’s declaration as passed by both Houses of Parliament that “all clauses of Article 370 shall cease to be operative in the State of Jammu and Kashmir” was notified in the Gazette of India later in the evening. The declaration will come into effect from August 6, the notification issued within hours of the Lok Sabha passing the resolution said.
The resolution and the Bill were approved by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Replying to the debate, Home Minister Amit Shah assured the House that the government could restore full Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir if the situation improved and expressed its willingness to engage with the local population. “We don’t want to talk to the Hurriyat, but we are ready to speak to the people of Kashmir,” he said, adding that the security forces would not be moved out of the Valley until the situation became fully normal. Mr. Shah also asserted that the Centre’s decision did not impact in any way India’s claim over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the government would continue to press it. Mr. Modi termed the passage of the resolution and the Bill “a momentous occasion in our Parliamentary democracy”. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House sine die after the resolution and the Bill were passed.
BJP ally, Janata Dal (United), and Trinamool Congress didn’t take part in the debate and walked out of the House. However, several Opposition parties including Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, and Biju Janata Dal among others supported the government. During his reply, Mr. Shah asserted that the special provisions under Article 370 denied basic rights to minorities (non-Muslims) in the Kashmir valley. He said if the families of Dr. Manmohan Singh or Inder Kumar Gujral had settled in Kashmir instead of Punjab, they could not have become Prime Ministers.
“Minorities don’t have voting rights,” he said and added, “This is not a historical blunder but we are rectifying the historical blunder.” Mr. Shah asked Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to clarify if it was the Congress stand when Mr. Chowdhury pointed out that Kashmir was the subject matter of a bilateral pact with Pakistan and the United Nations monitored it. The Congress leader, however, later claimed his statement was misunderstood. Several Opposition members asked the government to explain why it “cut off the channels of communication and locked up people in their own homes.”
“Your MPs are saying it’s like Diwali. Then let the people of Kashmir come out and celebrate,” said AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/lok-sabha-endorses-centres-decisions-on-kashmir/article28841127.ece

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