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Article 371 to stay: Union minister

By Correspondent

ITANAGAR, Nov 5 - Amid apprehensions among a section of people in the region about the fate of Article 371, which grants special provisions to the North Eastern States, in the backdrop of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Minister of State for MSME and Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, today categorically stated that Article 371 would continue to remain in force.

�Article 370 was a temporary provision and had to go, but Article 371 is a permanent provision and it will stay,� the Union minister said in his keynote address at the 8th Rutum Kamgo Memorial Lecture at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre here. The topic of the lecture was �Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A: A step towards national integration�.

�Article 371, permanent in nature, is to protect the unique cultural demography of the North Eastern States. Why should it be removed? Please don�t fall prey to rumour mongers,� he said.

While hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for abrogating Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the temporary provision should have been abrogated long before.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu, in his address, reiterated that Article 371 would not be touched by the Centre.

�Article 370 was inserted in the Constitution of India as a temporary provision due to the political circumstances of the time and has resulted in deprivation of fruits of development to the common people (in Jammu and Kashmir). It created a feeling of separatism which has been actively fomented and leveraged by our neighbouring country to disturb peace and tranquillity in the nation,� Khandu pointed out.

Khandu asserted that the special provisions dealing with the welfare of the North Eastern region and tribal areas contained in Article 371 (A to J) are special provisions and not temporary, which will remain as they are. Being special provisions, these are permanent in nature and are aimed at protecting the indigenous culture of the North Eastern States, he added.

Meanwhile, Tuluk Rida and Nyantom Tikkom were awarded the Neelam Nido Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution towards preservation and promotion of indigenous faith and culture by the Arunachal Pradesh Charitable Task.

Earlier in the day, the Union minister held a meeting the Chief Minister.

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