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Parliament nod to scrap Art 370, split J-K into 2 UTs

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Aug 6 - The Centre�s bold move to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the border state into two Union Territories secured Parliament�s approval on Tuesday with the Lok Sabha passing the new measures with over two-thirds majority. As Home Minister Amit Shah declared in the lower house that India will continue to claim the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under the occupation of Pakistan and ruled out any talks with separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference, the voices of dissent in the Congress by leaders who extended support to the move by the Modi government grew with senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia saying it was in the interest of the country.

The resolution abrogating provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to take away the special status of the state was adopted by the Lok Sabha with 351 members voting in its support and 72 against it, while one member abstained.

And in a sheer coincidence with the number 370, the bill to create two UTs � 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 resolution and the bill were approved by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Modi hailed the approval as a �momentous occasion� in parliamentary democracy and said a new dawn awaits the state which is now free from the �shackles� of vested interest groups.

�For years, vested interest groups who believed in emotional blackmail, never cared for people�s empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!� the prime minister said.

National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah in an emotional outburst compared the revocation of Article 370 as akin to �body being carved� and that they will fight and go to court against the Modi government�s decision.

In a marathon reply to the debate, Shah said Article 370 was creating doubts over Jammu and Kashmir�s relations with India. �This is not a historical blunder but we are rectifying the historical blunder,� he said, dismissing the opposition charge that the government was committing a mistake... India will continue to claim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,� he said.

Shah while moving the resolution earlier in the day said Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of Jammu and Kashmir and said, �we are ready to give our lives for it�. Aksai Chin is a vast area in Ladakh which is currently under Chinese occupation.

Shah also reiterated that the Modi government will have no hesitation in restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir when normalcy returns.

He also strongly refuted the suggestion that abrogation of Article 370 was �communal agenda� and said this provision was discriminatory and against the minorities, women and welfare of the people.

The Home Minister ruled out talks with the Hurriyat Conference.

�We don�t want to talk to Hurriyat, but we ready to speak to people of Kashmir...,� he said.

Shah said over 41,500 people were killed in Jammu and Kashmir due to militancy since 1989 and blamed Article 370 and Article 35A for the problem.

Defending the government�s action to put restrictions in Kashmir Valley in the last two days, the home minister said law and order situation there has not deteriorated and whatever actions were taken were all precautionary.

The House also witnessed an uproar when the Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought to know from the government whether Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter or a bilateral issue, saying the United Nations has been monitoring the situation there since 1948.

Chowdhury�s remarks triggered protests from the treasury benches. � PTI

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Parliament nod to scrap Art 370, split J-K into 2 UTs

NEW DELHI, Aug 6 - The Centre�s bold move to revoke special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the border state into two Union Territories secured Parliament�s approval on Tuesday with the Lok Sabha passing the new measures with over two-thirds majority. As Home Minister Amit Shah declared in the lower house that India will continue to claim the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under the occupation of Pakistan and ruled out any talks with separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference, the voices of dissent in the Congress by leaders who extended support to the move by the Modi government grew with senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia saying it was in the interest of the country.

The resolution abrogating provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to take away the special status of the state was adopted by the Lok Sabha with 351 members voting in its support and 72 against it, while one member abstained.

And in a sheer coincidence with the number 370, the bill to create two UTs � 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 resolution and the bill were approved by the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Modi hailed the approval as a �momentous occasion� in parliamentary democracy and said a new dawn awaits the state which is now free from the �shackles� of vested interest groups.

�For years, vested interest groups who believed in emotional blackmail, never cared for people�s empowerment. J&K is now free from their shackles. A new dawn, better tomorrow awaits!� the prime minister said.

National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah in an emotional outburst compared the revocation of Article 370 as akin to �body being carved� and that they will fight and go to court against the Modi government�s decision.

In a marathon reply to the debate, Shah said Article 370 was creating doubts over Jammu and Kashmir�s relations with India. �This is not a historical blunder but we are rectifying the historical blunder,� he said, dismissing the opposition charge that the government was committing a mistake... India will continue to claim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,� he said.

Shah while moving the resolution earlier in the day said Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are part of Jammu and Kashmir and said, �we are ready to give our lives for it�. Aksai Chin is a vast area in Ladakh which is currently under Chinese occupation.

Shah also reiterated that the Modi government will have no hesitation in restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir when normalcy returns.

He also strongly refuted the suggestion that abrogation of Article 370 was �communal agenda� and said this provision was discriminatory and against the minorities, women and welfare of the people.

The Home Minister ruled out talks with the Hurriyat Conference.

�We don�t want to talk to Hurriyat, but we ready to speak to people of Kashmir...,� he said.

Shah said over 41,500 people were killed in Jammu and Kashmir due to militancy since 1989 and blamed Article 370 and Article 35A for the problem.

Defending the government�s action to put restrictions in Kashmir Valley in the last two days, the home minister said law and order situation there has not deteriorated and whatever actions were taken were all precautionary.

The House also witnessed an uproar when the Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought to know from the government whether Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter or a bilateral issue, saying the United Nations has been monitoring the situation there since 1948.

Chowdhury�s remarks triggered protests from the treasury benches. � PTI