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Kashmir’s special status to go, says Modi’s minister

Updated May 28, 2014

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. - File photo
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. - File photo

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun the process to abrogate Article 370 that is said to legally bind the disputed Himalayan state with India, a key minister said on Tuesday.

Within minutes of taking charge as the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Jitendra Singh triggered a controversy. He said the process of abrogating Article 370 that grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir had already begun and that they had started discussing the issue with several stakeholders in the state.

In a series of tweets, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said “Article 370 is the only constitutional link between J&K & rest of India” and “Talk of revocation is not just ill-informed it’s irresponsible”. Mr Abdullah also said: “Long after Modi Govt is a distant memory either J&K won’t be part of India or Art 370 will still exist”.

The Indian Express said Mr Jitendra Singh’s inclusion in the Modi government was a surprise given that he joined the BJP just two years ago. He called Article 370 a “psychological barrier”. Abrogation of Article 370 is an old demand of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2014