Washington: Congressman George Holding has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking ‘bold’ steps on Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping Article 370 which, he said, was outdated and temporary.
Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated on Thursday into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, in accordance with the Indian government’s August 5 announcement revoking the state’s special status under Article 370.
‘The Indian Parliament passed the legislation changing the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and modified provisions that were an ‘obstacle to economic development and promoted a sense of separatism,’ the Republican lawmaker said on the floor of the House on Thursday.
Praising the move, he said the steps that Prime Minister Modi and Parliament have taken are needed, and are good for the stability of the region, and should be applauded.
Mr Holding said, ‘Article 370, an outdated provision of law that the Indian constitution recognised as temporary, also created a ‘polarising environment’ that was exploited politically and during the past decades, thousands of people lost their lives due to terrorist attacks.’
‘Article 370 might have worked well for those with political connections, but it denied economic opportunities for the people,’ he said.
Several groups based in Pakistan were able to conduct cross-border terrorism that wreaked havoc on individuals and families, and led to a morbid economy.
Mr Holding asserted that the Modi government had to make a decision on whether to continue with the old policy or to pursue progress by changing the region’s legal status.
‘Madam Speaker, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve better and Prime Minister Modi was right to take bold steps to address this situation. Changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir passed by Parliament by a two-thirds majority, which highlights the consensus on the need for this reform,’ he said.
Since the Centre’s decision on Article 370, terrorists have been targeting truckers and labourers, mainly who have come to the Valley from outside Kashmir.
‘Pakistan-based terror groups continue to engage in cross-border terrorism and have attacked civilians and children. These groups have also attacked migrant workers and those who are involved in the apple business, which is the chief crop of Kashmir,’ said the Republican Congressman.