Agency New Delhi: BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday said Article 370 is the greatest “impediment” in the “emotional integration” of Kashmir with the rest of India. Underlining that the Kashmir issue should not be seen in isolation, he said, “Jammu and Ladakh have been sacrificial lambs in the process of handling the situation in Kashmir.” Madhav, who is in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, was speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘J&K Invisible Fault lines’ written by journalist Sandhya Jain. He said those who have pro-India sentiment in the Valley need to be protected. “In any such region with separatism and anti-nationalism, those who stand for India, there has to be positive bias for them… We cannot treat pro-India and pro-separatists equally. Secular neutrality does not work. One nationalist dying is one pro-India citizen less, we cannot afford it,” he said.
Referring to his interaction with Jammu and Kashmir’s former Governor Jagmohan, the BJP leader said, “Jagmohan told me that an average Kashmiri is like you and me; but he needs confidence that he will not be killed if he holds up the Indian flag.
“The duty of the state is to ensure that everybody holding Indian flag is protected,” he said.
Madhav also stressed on the need to have some ground rules for handling the Kashmir issue.
“Kashmir Hamara Hai to Kashmiri Bhi Hamare Hain (Kashmir is ours so are Kashmiris)… you do not shout that all Kashmiris are anti-nationals, that is not the realty,” he said.
Elaborating further, the BJP general secretary said there could be people who are misguided or are terrorists or extremists, but one needs to look at them as ‘one of us’ who should be brought into the mainstream.
He said Kashmir became an integral part of India on the day instrument of accession was signed, and not because of Article 370.
“Article 370 is not the reason for Kashmir joining India. This myth that certain leaders in Kashmir want to perpetuate in this country is the biggest fallacy. If anything, Article 370 is the greatest impediment in the emotional integration of Kashmiris with the rest of India,” Madhav added.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
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