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'Having an Enclave Within Country Not Desirable': VP Naidu to EU Lawmakers on J&K

He also said that abrogation of Article 370 was an internal matter and the move to bifurcate the state into two union territories was to ensure the overall development of both Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

PTI

Updated:October 28, 2019, 9:24 PM IST
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'Having an Enclave Within Country Not Desirable': VP Naidu to EU Lawmakers on J&K
File photo of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu asserted on Monday that scraping the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir was a step towards equality and said there was a wide belief that having an "enclave within the country" was not desirable.

Interacting with a group of European Union lawmakers here a day before their visit to Jammu and Kashmir, he said the resolution to scrap provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution were put to vote in Parliament on August 5 and 6 and it received "unequivocal mandate" of both the Houses.

"The Lower House (Lok Sabha) voted 80 per cent in favour and in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha), nearly 66 per cent supported...," a statement issued by the Vice President's Secretariat said quoting Naidu.

He also said that abrogation of Article 370 was an internal matter and the move to bifurcate the state into two union territories was to ensure the overall development of both Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

"Abrogation of Article 370 was a step towards equity and human dignity. 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 statement said.

Provisions under Article 370 according special status was intended to be a transitory provision from the beginning, he told the EU lawmakers.

"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," the statement said.

Stating that Jammu and Kashmir was beset with a host of formidable impeding challenges such as corruption, lack of accountability, growing threat of militancy and cross-border terrorism along with slow development, the vice president said that the situation in the state after 70 years of independence convinced the policymakers that they could not allow the rapid downslide to continue.

He said that the government, therefore, had to take the best possible steps for preventing any loss of life or property.

The vice president said that it was to the credit of the government that these measures have succeeded in full, as not a single bullet has been fired till date and there has not been any loss of life on account of any police firing.

He said that the restrictions were only temporary in character and relaxations were being given step by step and stage by stage.

The vice president also told the delegation that several steps have been taken by the government to ensure smooth flow of information in Jammu and Kashmir.

Referring to the recently held first-ever elections to Block Development Councils, he said that 98.3 per cent voter turnout was an indicator for a very peaceful election.

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.

Naidu told the EU delegation that India believes that peace was the pre-requisite for progress and the government wishes to bring peace to troubled areas, so that people enjoy a better quality of life.

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