Wednesday 25 September 2019 5:35 AM UTC
NEW DELHI Sept 25: Defending the government’s move to abrogate Article 370 of the constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has said that the provision was misused and it encouraged links between separatists and terrorist groups sponsored by Pakistan.
In an article published in Financial Times, the EAM wrote: “A provision intended to provide temporary comfort to the process of aligning with the rest of the nation was misused for many years.
By doing so, it encouraged links between separatist politicians and terrorist groups sponsored by Pakistan.”
“As minorities were driven out of the state in their thousands, this polarised environment was exploited politically. During the past decades, thousands of people lost their lives due to terrorist attacks,” EAM said in the article.
Terming it as an “anachronistic” provision, the EAM said it created a cosy arrangement of local ownerships that served the state’s political elite well.
“But it denied economic opportunities and social gains for the masses. The resulting separatist sentiments in some quarters were then exploited by neighbouring Pakistan to conduct cross-border terrorism,” Mr Jaishankar wrote in Financial Times.
The EAM asserted that the earlier provision discouraged outside investment in Kashmir and led to the denial of socio-economic justice.
“Although the central government spent 10 times more on the average resident of the province than in the rest of the country, that investment did not show up on the ground.
Infrastructure projects slowed down amid concerns about irregularities in public finance,” EAM said.
S Jaishankar stressed that boundaries of states have been reorganised 14 times since its independence and what has now happened in respect to Jammu and Kashmir is the “norm, not an aberration.”
He also termed the abrogation as a well-intended change to improve daily lives and create more opportunities for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“If it requires precautionary measures, other nations who have faced their own challenges of social justice and national unity will surely understand. Such precautions are always temporary in a democratic polity,” the EAM wrote.
The EAM said there is a new reality in the making in Jammu and Kashmir which is driven by economic development, social progress and gender justice.
“Its future is based on freedom from intimidation and fear of terrorists. Those who identify with these goals will surely welcome the change,” he wrote.
On August 5, the government of India had announced the move abrogate Article 370 and also simultaneously bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
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