NEW DELHI: Tightening the grip on Jammu and Kashmir and upholding the promise in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to CNN-News 18 on Tuesday, said that former PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies had become an obstacle for the development in the Kashmir Valley, with people wanting a change, including Article 35A and Article 370 as they hindered development.
“The problem in Kashmir is largely due to the 50-odd political families there. They have been milking the issue. They don't want any benefit to be given to the common Kashmiri people. They are using public sentiment for political gains. The income tax department has cracked down on such elements," Modi said in the interview.
“While stone-throwers are funded by Pakistan to protect militants, when there is crackdown by the NIA on terror operators, people stand outside their homes and clap. People of Kashmir want freedom from such political families who have been preying on their emotions for 50 years. The situation in Kashmir is such that people want change, whether it is about Article 35A or 370," Modi said.
On Monday, Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said that abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution would lead to Jammu and Kashmir’s “freedom" from India. The article grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“If you free Jammu and Kashmir from Article 370, you will free the state from country as well. I have said many times that Article 370 links Jammu and Kashmir with the country. When you break this bridge, India loses its legitimacy over the state. It becomes an occupational force," PTI quoted her as saying.
However, Modi said it was the former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies which were being an obstacle for the development in the Valley.
“There must be investment and job opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. 35A, 370 have been standing in the way of development. No one goes there to invest. We can build IIMs, but professors are not ready to go there as their children don't get admission in schools. They can't find homes. This ends up harming the interests of J&K. Pandit Nehru's policies stand as an obstacle for J&K today. It needs to be reviewed," the prime minister said.
In its manifesto, the BJP has promised the abrogation of Article 370 if the party retains power in the Lok Sabha elections.