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Article 370 a conspiracy against Kashmiris: Jaitley

July 22, 2012 17:07 IST

Terming Article 370 as a conspiracy against people of Jammu and Kashmir, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said it was doing more harm than good to them.

"Article 370 is doing more harm than good to the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It hampers their progress in many ways. It was a conspiracy against them," Jaitley said.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha was speaking during a "Discussion on The Interlocutors Report on J and K" organised by India Foundation in New Delhi on Saturday.

Describing former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's vision for the state as "flawed", he said the recently released interlocutors' report on Jammu and Kashmir suffers from the "Nehruvian mindset".

"Panditji's vision for Kashmir proved very costly for India. It was a flawed vision. Giving special status to the state fanned separatist sentiments. It was a blunder among many other blunders in the approach to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The report also suffers from the Nehruvian vision" he said.

Jaitley outlined that the issue of Jammu of Kashmir is because of two main reasons of cross border terrorism and economic development.

"The problem of Kashmir is mainly because of two factors -- cross border terrorism and economic development. Until the terrorism from across the border stops, peace cannot come. And centre should usher in more economic development," he said.

He said the best way forward to bringing peace in the state is by winning the hearts of the people.

"The people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace. There are a few people who foment trouble, but the majority of the population does not see violence as a solution. And we can bring peace by winning the hearts of the people and by ushering in a great deal of economic development in the state," Jaitley said.

On the question of revocation of AFSPA from the state, the lawyer-turned-politician said: "There is no logic in partial revocation of AFSPA from certain areas of the state. You cannot have it in one district and not have it in another. It will hamper army operations. It is a shield for the armed forces and it would be difficult for them to work in the state without such a protection," Jaitley said.

Centre's chief interlocutor on Kashmir, Dileep Padgaonkar refuted allegations of being partisan and said his team has tried to address every aspect of the issue and alleged there has been a disinformation campaign against the report.

Former Union minister Arif Mohammad Khan criticised the report, saying it gives an impression that the issue of Kashmir is homegrown.

"The interlocutors' report gives an impression as if the problem of Jammu and Kashmir is home-grown. There are external forces who are playing their part. There is Pakistan dimension to it," he said.

"While the report highlights various aspects of the issue, it fails to outline the solution," he added.

BJP National Executive Member & Chief Spokesperson Jammu and Kashmir, Jitendra Singh demanded that the report should not be implemented.

"The report should not be accepted as it is against national interest, which will break the democratic integrity of the nation. It will erode the sovereignty of India," he said.
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