Strengthen Article 370 to win over people: Mehbooba to Modi Govt

Opposition People’s Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday asked the Government of India to forget revoking Article 370 and instead discuss strengthening it “if you want to win over people of J&K.”
“You (BJP) know it well that if you make any attempt to scrap Article 370, you will have to renegotiate a new relationship with people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehbooba said.
The truth, she said, was nobody can touch the Article 370.
“If BJP wants a discussion on Article 370, they should talk about strengthening it to win the hearts and minds of people,” said Mehbooba, the MP-elect. “It (BJP) should discuss reverting to the position wherein J&K had an elected Governor and it should discuss making Article 356 non-applicable to J&K.”
Mehbooba’s statement comes day after Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh raked up a controversy by stating that the BJP-led government has started the process to revoke the Article 370.
She asked Prime Minister NarendraModi to intervene in the matter and reassure people of J&K. “He should use powers to ensure his junior ministers don’t cross the line,” Mehbooba said.
Mehbooba said the statement by BJP minister was aimed at dividing Jammu and Kashmir on communal lines.
“There were apprehensions that when BJP will come to power under Modi, it will be a divisive Government,” Mehbooba said. But, she said, Modi made a good start when he invited leaders of the SARRC countries to connect with neighbors and started a new reconciliatory process with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharief.
But, she said, his minster issued a statement which has the potential to divide the State on communal lines.
“I hope he (Minister of State) does not put his foot in his mouth again,” Mehbooba said.
She said J&K has been part of India for the past over 60 years. “The land is there but people feel alienated. If BJP wants a discussion on the Article 370 they should try and win the minds and hearts of people,” she said.

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