Congress Pitches For Article 371 As Bharat Jodo Yatra Enters Jammu And Kashmir

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said that the party is of the view that the bill brought and passed on August 5, 2019 and was not done in a democratic way.

Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kathua district

On the second day of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress party today came fully in support of the restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and said the bill brought by the parliament on August 5, 2019, was an act of a "brute majority."

“Congress party is of the view that the bill brought and passed on August 5, 2019 and was not done in a democratic way,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said while talking to reporters along with other Congress leaders in Kathua. 

“The bill was passed without discussion and dialogue and through a brute majority it was passed. Jammu and Kashmir was a state. It was a full-fledged state. It turned into a Union Territory. We are against it. We want democracy to begin again in Jammu and Kashmir,” Ramesh said.

“We want Jammu and Kashmir to be given statehood back,” he added.

“You raised a question about statehood. You see our country and read our constitution and see these regions like Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and some areas of Assam, some areas of Karnataka-Hyderabad region, you will find they have special provisions under Article 371. I hope you got the answer,” he said, responding to a question about whether they support the demand of National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti about restoration of Article 370.

“You are talking about Article 370 and I am talking about Article 371. Under Article 371 many states of our country and many areas of our country have given special provisions,” he added.

In many states like Nagaland, Article 371 states that no act of Parliament would apply to the state of Nagaland in matters relating to religious or social practices of Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, and ownership and transfer of land and its resources. 

Since August 5, 2019 when the Government abrogated Article 370 that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir state giving it a separate flag and its own constitution, mainstream political parties have been seeking restoration of statehood and Article 370.

NGO, People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and National Conference, Peoples Conference have filed petitions in the apex court challenging Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which splits J&K into two Union Territories-Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and revocation of Article 370. The case has been admitted by the Apex Court.