Drawing a comparison between the special provisions for Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule asked the government to clarify its line on such issues.
Speaking during the debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the MP from Baramati said, “One question which comes to my mind is about the Naga framework. The Prime Minister two years ago worked out the framework with NSCN and they said that the state is unique and has a different history. The same logic applies to Jammu and Kashmir. So, will there be a similar plan for both? Or what is the plan? So, you may kindly throw some light on why there is a different rule or special provisions… So, what is really the government’s line? What would it be for Naga framework? Why is there a big change? This is almost like a contrast. So, you kindly clarify on these issues pertaining to J&K.’’
She said the debate on scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir will remain incomplete in the records of Parliament as well as history in the absence of former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. “I don’t know what to say about the Bill. It is not funny, the kind of rush with which it has been brought. This is Parliament. Please remain calm. My seat is 462 and the seat next to me, number 461, is occupied by Farooq Abdullah, who has been elected from Kashmir. His voice is silent today. If you ask me, then this shall remain an incomplete debate in history,” she said.
Despite Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurances that Abdullah had not been detained, Sule said that given the emotions the people of Kashmir have for their former CM, the debate should not have been conducted in his absence.
Speaking about the restrictions in Kashmir, Sule said she had failed to get in touch with Abdullah and other “family friends” despite repeated attempts. She spoke of development in Kashmir and the sense of security that the Abdullah government had managed to foster.
Sule said that Article 370 had in any case been diluted over the years. “When Bills are tabled that say ‘Not for Jammu and Kashmir’, these are few. Take GST for instance, it is implemented there, all income tax and other rules are the same there. I will give you one more example of what the home minister replied yesterday. He said that the education infrastructure there will improve. Mehbooba Mufti was the Chief Minister there, who was your ally. That was your government. I want to know that if GST could be implemented, then why did you not think of Right to Education? The literacy rate of J&K is 76.75 per cent and that of women is 56 per cent. The literacy rate in Bihar is 71 per cent and that of women is 51 per cent. The male literacy rate in Rajasthan is 79 per cent and that of women is 52 per cent… So when you say that abrogating Article 370 will bring about a lot of changes, I am not convinced. If you can convince me how it is going to change, I am open to a good discussion,” she said.