Article 370 will be revoked by end of 2017: BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy today said Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir will be revoked by end of next year, while work on building Ram Temple in Ayodhya will begin by the end of this year.

Participating in a debate titled – ‘Do Muslims feel safe in India’ during the India TV ‘SAMVAAD’ conclave, Swamy said that Muslims in India are more safe than any other country.

“By the end of this year, we will start the construction of Ram Temple. I am sure that in July, the Supreme Court will begin day-to-day hearing and it will not take more than a month for the top court to pass the order. Owaisi has also favoured day-to-day hearing,” he said.

To this, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, who was also part of the panel, said, if the Supreme Court orders in favour of a mosque, then a mosque will be built at the disputed spot in Ayodhya.

On Kashmir, Owaisi questioned Swamy over what the BJP-led government did in the last two years for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.

On this Swamy said, “As far as return of Kashmiri pandits to the Valley are concerned, they should be first assured that they will be safe in their homes. I urge you (Owaisi) to declare that you will advocate for revocation of Article 370. If you do that, I will relocate all Kashmiri pandits tomorrow.”

Countering Swamy, Owaisi said that the BJP is sharing power with the PDP in J&K and it should bring a resolution in the Assembly on the same matter. “The Modi government is in power for the last two years. Please give me the figure as to how many Kashmiri pandits have been relocated so far. You are sharing power in Kashmir too,” the Hyderabad MP said.

Owaisi also asked the BJP leader to give a time frame to withdraw the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. “I have heard from constitution experts that if you want to keep Kashmir with India, Article 370 is necessary. Kashmir is an integral part of India,” he said.

“By the end of 2017, we (BJP-led government) will revoke Article 370,” Swamy said.

The AIMIM leader further questioned the functioning of the BJP-PDP government in J&K. “We have to love the Kashmiris, not only Kashmiri Pandits… many Kashmiri Muslim youths are still missing. If a terrorist is killed, 50,000 people attend his funeral. How many people were present at the time of Mufti Saheb’s funeral? The BJP is in power, what kind of government you are running in the state?”

On uniform civil code, Owaisi said that it is ‘necessary to save the diversity of our country’ and hence it can’t become a reality.

“To save the diversity of this vast country, I am against the uniform civil code. No one can bring in uniform civil code,” Owaisi said.

Swamy said that when Muslims can accept the uniform criminal code, then what’s wrong in uniform civil code which proposes to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in the country with a common set governing every citizen.

“When I was the law minister, Syed Shahabuddin said that uniform civil code is against the Shariah, then I asked him you accepted the uniform criminal code and forget shariah. Why you only remember shariah in uniform civil code? Shahabuddin said that don’t divert the matter,” he said.

Soon after this, Owaisi sought to drag the NIA’s decision to give clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya to explain how discriminations are done against minorities in the uniform criminal code.

“During Mumbai blast, a Muslim woman was awarded life term because the van where arms were kept belonged to her. Now the NIA has given clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya Thakur whose motorcycle was used in the blast. Where is the uniform criminal code? It doesn’t apply here,” Owaisi said.

“It is another matter whether the code is implemented in a right manner or no,t but you have accepted the uniform criminal code. Everybody has accepted that a Hindu judge can punish a Muslim man and a Muslim judge can punish a Hindu man,” Swamy countered.

On the issue of modernization of madrassas, Owaisi said, “Right to Education will not apply to minority institutions because the Indian Constitution guarantees Cultural and Educational Rights under Articles 29 and 30. The Sachar Committee Report mentions that only 3% of Muslim children of school-going age go to Madarsas.”

On beef controversy, Owaisi said, “You are banning beef in Maharashtra, not in Goa. Is this ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’? Beef ban is affecting the life of poor Muslims. You promised 1.5 crore jobs every year… but you fail to deliver, you have not generated even 1.5 lakh jobs.”

Replying to him, Swamy said, “If you say you are an Indian, I don’t have any objection, but if you say you are a Muslim, I will say Muslims are everywhere. The entire Muslims in the world have accepted uniform civil code, but you don’t accept it here. You say beef ban should not be put in place, but at the same time you say that you have faith in the Constitution. In Constitution it is written that cow slaughter be banned.”

Owaisi then pointed out the ban on cow slaughter have been mentioned only in the Directive Principles of State in the Constitution, and courts cannot enforce it.

On Dadri lynching incident Swamy said that the law and order is a matter of state government and thus the BJP-led government at the Centre can’t be blamed for the killing of a 50-yr-old Muslim man.

“The Dadri incident took place in Uttar Pradesh where the most secular government is in power but we are blamed. No one is stopping Mulayam Singh Yadav from punishing the culprit even he is a BJP leader. This is not the duty of my government. Law and order is a matter of state, not the Centre.

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