Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that the abrogation of Article 370 was India’s internal matter and that the move to bifurcate the state into two union territories was to ensure the overall development of all the regions in the state.
Addressing the delegation of more than 25 members of the European Parliament in New Delhi today, he said that abrogation of Article 370 was a step towards equity and human dignity. Vice President Naidu observed that the move would ensure good governance where people enjoy the fruits of freedom rather than be constantly under the fear of the bullet.
The Vice President said that the proposition was put to vote in the Parliament on 5th and 6th August 2019 and it received Parliament’s unequivocal mandate. “The Lower House voted 80% in favour and in the Upper House, nearly 66% supported the Bill,” he added.
Stressing that Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of India since the acceptance or accession, the Vice President said that the Indian Constitution’s Article 370 was intended to be a transitory provision from the beginning.
The Vice President said that the special provisions and their consequences have been reviewed time and again over the last few decades and the Indian Parliament had debated the issue several times.
He said that it was widely felt that having an enclave within the country was not desirable and was seen as antithetical to an inclusive growth strategy where the country aims to bridge development gaps between states and achieve an equitable growth leaving no state behind.
Stating that the state was beset with a host of formidable impeding challenges like corruption, lack of accountability and most disturbing of all, growing threat of militancy and cross-border terrorism along with slow development. The Vice President said that the situation in the state convinced the policymakers that they could not allow the rapid downslide to continue.
Against the backdrop of one of our neighbour’s consistent policy to aid, abet, fund terrorist activities in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country, he underscored that stern action was inevitable.
He said that the current restrictions were only temporary in character and relaxations were being given step by step and stage by stage. The Vice President told the delegation that several steps have been taken by the Government to ensure a smooth flow of information in the Jammu & Kashmir.
Talking about the recently held elections to Block Development Councils, he said that 98.3% voter turnout and the peaceful conduct of elections showed the Government’s resolve to strengthen at grassroot level democracy.
The Vice President said that India wishes to see a more just, peaceful and responsive world order and that it was building a richly diverse, harmonious, democratic polity to ensure all-round development and inclusive growth.
Pointing out that India has always believed in the principle of peaceful co-existence right from the Vedic times and that it had conceptualized the entire world as one family, Vice President Naidu told the EU delegation that India believes that peace is the essential pre-requisite for progress.
The Vice President also told the visiting Parliamentarians that India was moving towards inclusive development with the Parliament playing the role of a catalyst and a proactive leader in India’s transformative process.
He also informed the delegation that India was keen on engaging with the EU on regional and global issues of shared concern and also for reforming the multilateral system and institutions to better reflect contemporary global realities.