Ram Madhav (Image: PTI)
BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Sunday made it clear that the entire territory of Kashmir belonged to India. He said that whatever part of Kashmir was under occupation of Pakistan, will come back to India soon. "Whatever is under the occupation of our neighbour is ours, but it will come." he said. He also added that it was the responsibility of every Indian to connect with the people of Kashmir as they had been "fed a separative narrative" for nearly six decades.
"...When we say Kashmir is ours, what we say is every Kashmiri is ours. Today the country has to embrace the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir," he said. "No discrimination, no ill feelings. They are our own people. They are our family," he added."
The BJP leader was speaking on the topic "New India, New Kashmir" organised by the party's Ernakulam district committee in Kochi.
'Stop looking at Kashmir from prism of Pakistan'
Madhav also urged Indians to stop looking at Kashmir from the prism of Pakistan. Taking a dig at political parties opposing the scrapping of Article 370, the constitutional provisions giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Madhav said the issue should not be looked at from the prism of Pakistan.
"Some people have a lot of concern for Pakistan. How will they (Pakistan) react, how will the international community react?" he asked. "It is our state. Kashmir is ours...," he said.
He claimed that Kashmir was peaceful not because of the presence of security forces but because people realised that Prime Minister Modi was working to ensure development and equal opportunities for all in the state.
"Large parts of the state are out of curfew. Friday congregations in mosques in the valley are peaceful. Barring sporadic incidents here and there, the valley is largely peaceful," he said.
'PM Modi ended Jammu and Kashmir's agony in just 72 hours'
Praising the abrogation of Article 370, Madhav said it took only 72 hours for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end 72 years of agony in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It took just 72 hours for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end 72 years of agony due to this draconian Article 370. It took one Modi to end it, one who could see, feel and was willing to take stern decisions to give people their due rights," Mr Madhav said at the 'New India, New Kashmir' event in Kochi on Sunday.
He added Article 370 had been used to deny people their fundamental rights in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Those protesting against the dilution of Article 370 should know it was against the fundamental rights. Kashmir decided they will have their own laws, their own citizens, and the rights given to people will have to be ratified by the state government, this was all the doing of 35-A which was inserted in 1954 through a sleight of hand. It created two sets of people, one set with more rights than the other," Mr Madhav said.
"It meant there is no reservation for Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir even to this date. One state that doesn't have a minority or women's commission is Jammu and Kashmir. It also doesn't have a Right to Education," he added.
Slamming those who supported Article 370, Mr Madhav said: "It denied people their political rights. It is against development and dignity of people. I want to ask CPM, LDF and UDF parties are you in favour of the rights of people."
"Today, here in Kerala there might be hundreds of companies which are registered on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) or even in international exchanges like that of New York. But there is just one company registered on the stock exchange from the entire Jammu and Kashmir and that too is the Jammu & Kashmir Bank of the state government," he said.
'Centre does away with 150 discriminatory laws'
The BJP leader said the Centre has done away with more than 150 discriminatory laws passed by Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in the name of state subject.
"And 120 laws passed by Parliament, which were not extendable to the state earlier, are now being extended so that the dignity of the ordinary human beings, people of the state can be protected", he said.