Union home minister Amit Shah, who announced the government's plans to end Jammu and Kashmir's statehood this morning, held out some hope in the evening that it might be restored one day, after it becomes the country's most developed area. The government is pushing through a bill to "reorganize" Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories - Ladakh without any legislature and Jammu and Kashmir with one.
"Several MPs have asked how long will J&K remain a Union Territory. I want to assure them when situation gets normal and the right time comes, we are ready to make J&K a state again. It may take a little longer, but it will become a state once again, one day. Don't want the state to remain a Union Territory forever," Amit Shah said.
The government, Amit Shah said during the reply to the debate in Rajya Sabha, plans to make Jammu and Kashmir the most developed state by the end of five years as provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which were an impediment to it, has been removed.
"Article 370 ensures there is no PPP model, no private investment in the state. 370 ensures the healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir suffers, no doctor wants to go there. 370 ensures there is no right to education for the children of Kashmir. Dalits, OBCs in the state don't get any reservation because of 370... Can the advocates of Article 370 explain why this should be?" the minister questioned.
"I want to tell the youth in the valley, with Article 370, there will be no development. If you want poverty, lack of development, lack of sanitation, continue with Article 370," he said.
Amid a huge troop build-up leading to unrest in the state over the last week, the minister announced this morning that provisions under Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been ended by an order from President Ram Nath Kovind. He also announced the government's bifurcation plan that involved splitting the state into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, which would have a legislature and Ladakh, which won't have one.
On why the state was being downgraded into a union territory, even without the special status, Amit Shah said, "Keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross border terrorism in the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for J&K is being created".