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Articles 370, 35-A must go, says Bhagwat

Articles 370, 35-A must go, says Bhagwat

New Delhi: Amid the raging debate, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said that Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution, which give special status to Jammu and Kashmir, must go.

"Our views on Articles 370 and 35-A are well known. These Articles must go," the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said in response to a query on the concluding day of his outreach programme.

Of late, there has been a raging controversy over Article 35A that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define "permanent residents" of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

After huge opposition in Jammu and Kashmir, the new Governor had intervened in the matter when the state told the Supreme Court that a PIL on the matter be deferred for hearing later.

On the question of a demand for division of Jammu and Kashmir into three parts -- Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir Valley, Bhagwat said it was for the government to decide.

"The idea behind the division of any state is administrative convenience and the country's integrity and security should remain intact. If on these parameters the government feels at any time that the state should be divided, then so be it. If not, the state may remain intact," he said.

"But it needs to be seen whether the state government there is working for the development of all the regions of the state without discrimination. The primary thing is that the state government must ensure there is no threat to the internal security of the country," he added.

Bhagwat disclosed that some RSS volunteers have started running schools, etc., in the troubled state to work on the youth and prevent them from going astray.

"Vande matram and Jana Gana Mana are sung in these schools. Independence Day and Republic Day are also celebrated. We are getting good support from the students and their guardians. This will grow gradually, because no such attempt had been made earlier. The effort will take time to bear fruit," Bhagwat said.

On the question of need for tougher laws to maintain the internal security of the country, Bhagwat said that both government and society should ensure through reaching out to every section of the society that people do not get attracted towards elements which create a threat to the internal security.

He added that those openly opposing the implementation of law and order must be dealt with strictly.

"We cannot reach anywhere through the bullet but through talks. But the talks must go in a direction that Bharat must remain united and integrated," he said.

"We should ensure that those posing threat to country's security, those speaking the language of treason do not get the support from inside the country. We must isolate such people," Bhagwat said.

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