RSS chief Mohan Baghwat on Saturday called for constitutional amendments to fully integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India, amid a raging debate over the demand for abrogation of Article 370 that gives the state special status.
Addressing RSS volunteers on its 92nd foundation day, Bhagwat said Hindus who migrated to the state from west Pakistan in 1947 were in a “miserable state of refugees for their decision to be in Bharat and remain as Hindu”.
He blamed certain constitutional provisions, like Article 35(A) that empowers the state’s legislature to define Jammu and Kashmir residents and accords citizenship rights to them, for the “backward life” of these Hindu migrants.
“This is happening just because the discriminatory provisions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that denied them the fundamental rights,” he said, and called for creating conditions so that they could live “a happy, dignified and secure life…while remaining firm and devoted to their religions and national identity”.
“For this just work, necessary Constitutional amendments will have to be made and old provisions will have to be changed. Then and then only, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir can be completely assimilated with rest of Bharat and their equal cooperation and share will be possible in the national progress.”
The Article 35(A), which also bars non-residents from buying property in the state, applying for government jobs, voting in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, is being debated in the Supreme Court after a petition called for its revocation.
Bhagwat also spoke about Kashmiri Pandits, who migrated from the valley in early 1990s when an armed insurgency broke out in the state, saying their condition “remains as it is”.
Welcoming the government’s initiative of firmly dealing with separatists and militants, Bhagwat said the “path for complete resolution of the (Kashmir) issue will be facilitated when the entire society will stand behind the well- thought policy of dealing sternly and strongly with the anti-national forces”.
“To eradicate the poison of alienation and unrest created through the systematic and false propaganda over the years, the society will have to show the natural affection through these positive actions.”