Shah Visits Assam, Rules Out Change In Article 371

Guwahati: Dismissing apprehensions after abrogation of Article 370, Union Home Minister Amit Shah here on Sunday assured the people of northeast that there would be no change in the Article 371 as it was a “special” provision.

Shah said there was difference between Article 371 and Article 370, which was revoked by the Centre on August 5 leading to loss of special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

“Article 370 was the temporary provision. But Article 371 is a special provision. I want to clarify the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Narendra Modi government is committed to Article 371 — from A to J. There is no question of any alteration to it,” Shah said while addressing the 68th plenary session of the North Eastern Council.

The Home Minister’s remark came during his first visit to Assam after the release of final National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Recalling the moment when he tabled in Parliament last month the Bill to scrap Article 370, Shah said it was unfortunate that it was turned into “today 370, tomorrow 371”.

“I don’t have any problem if opposition expresses its objections to the government decision. But there was an attempt to spread a message that Article 371 will also be scrapped like Article 370,” he said.

Stating that he had clarified it on the floor of Parliament, Shah said, “I want to clarify it (here too).”

Shah said it was necessary to clarify the point because “some people does not want the people of northeast to join the mainstream and become the part of India’s development. They don’t want the peace to prevail in the region.”

Ever since the Centre moved a presidential order on August 5, scrapping Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories, Article 371 has invited attention as it allows special provisions for northeast states.

Most states that have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 are in the northeast and the special status aims to preserve their tribal culture. Article 371B deals with special provision with respect to Assam.

Allaying apprehensions, Nagaland Governor R.N Ravi, who was the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace process, last month said the people need not worry about Article 371 (A) following developments related to J&K.



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