Bhartiya Janata Party has raked up Article 370 again, saying that the article in the Indian constitution was a “hurdle” for the country in Jammu and Kashmir. “Article 370 is a hurdle for India in Jammu and Kashmir,” sources quoted BJP leader and Speaker Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta as saying in Gujarat, where he was speaking in a Conference. The BJP leader was speaking in Gujarat where a four-day-long ‘All India Presiding Officers’ Conference’ was held on January 21 to facilitate a dialogue between the presiding officers of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and other legislative bodies in the country. “But our country has done a lot to normalise things in Jammu and Kashmir. Our country has succeeded in extending Supreme Court jurisdiction to the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” sources quoted Gupta as having said in the conference. Sources said that Gupta while referring to Parliament attack of 2001said “democracy has been murdered.” The BJP leader was speaking on the topic, “Public Perception about Legislators” in the conference when he stoked up Article 370. However, sources said that Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council Jahangir Hussain Mir countered the BJP leader by saying that Article 370 gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir in India. “While a perception is created that Article 370 is a hurdle in the progress of the Jammu and Kashmir state, but J&K has made several parliamentary reforms in the state much before the country could bring them,” Mir, the Congress MLC, has said at the conference, sources said. Gupta denied having talked about Article 370 in the conference. “I did not talk about Article 370 there. The conference was about legislators and improvement of holding legislative sessions. I talked about giving training session for legislators and penalty for sitting legislators who don’t attend sessions,” Gupta told KNS. But, Mir said that he defended the Article 370 at the conference after Gupta talked about it. “Yes, Speaker Kavinder Gupta said that Article 370 is a hurdle. But, I defended Article 370 in the conference. I also rebutted the remark of Kavinder Gupta on democracy and told the participants that people of Jammu Kashmir have given sacrifices for defending democracy. I said that elections have been held for assembly and panchayatas,” Mir told KNS. The Congress leader from Poonch said that though the conference was held for improving legislative procedures and how to run legislative sessions smoothly, the BJP leader raked up Article 370. “I told the participants that we need to discuss Article 370 when the conference was held for discussing improving legislatives procedures and sessions. I informed them that legislators should be trained for smoothly helping in carrying out sessions and sittings in the legislative assemblies,” Mir said. Around 350 delegates from across India, including Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Lok Sabha, Deputy Speaker of Rajya Sabha, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of all the Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils as well as secretaries participated in the 78th edition of the annual conference which was chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Speakers and Deputy Speakers of 31 state Assemblies and seven state Councils were invited for the conference, which was aimed to establish direct dialogue between the presiding officers of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and other legislative bodies of India.
2015 Kashmir Despatch