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Feb 27, 1981: When Sheikh Abdullah demanded abrogation of Art 370 in JK Assembly
Skeltons tumble out of closets
7/8/2020 12:22:54 AM
Early Times Report

Jammu, July 7: Not many are perhaps aware of this important historical fact that it was National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah who 39 years ago advocated the abrogation of Article 370 and even tabled a bill in Jammu and Kashmir State legislature for the purpose.
On February 27, 1981, Sheikh Abdullah in his vote of thanks to Governor’s address uttered the following words on the floor of the house: “It is inevitable for the State to tread the new horizons of development. The unanimous efforts of the government and the opposition shall take the State of Jammu and Kashmir towards new heights of prosperity. Today, in the state assembly, the important bill which is being tabled is about Article 370. I must say this Article should not be deemed as a last word. If people want, the union government shall be accorded with more authority in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Sheikh deliberately in his address used the bait of peoples’ aspirations in scrapping of Article 370. He had used the similar methods to hoodwink people in the past.
The next session of the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly commenced on March 2, 1981. On that day, a bill to abrogate Article 370 was tabled by the government led by Sheikh Abdullah. In his address Sheikh asserted that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have willingly joined the Union of India and the decision was much based on logic then being a mere emotive one. However, said Sheikh in his address, there is a clear mention of this in the constitution that Article 370 is not a last word nor it is a Gospel that in no way can be amended or fiddled with. “If we want betterment in our relations with the Indian union, discussing the relevance of Article 370 is imperative,” said Sheikh Abdullah in state assembly on March 2, 1981.
The Janata Party and Lok Dal Jammu party hailed the statement of Sheikh Abdullah about the abrogation of Article 370. They even issued congratulatory messages to the NC founder for such a bold statement. Former Sadr-e- Riyast and son of JK’s erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh issued the following statement: “I am in complete agreement with the statement of Sheikh Abdullah that Article 370 is neither a last word nor a Gospel that cannot be amended or changed. With the abrogation of this Article, Jammu and Kashmir will tread towards a new era of prosperity and development. I am aware of the fact that the public opinion in Kashmir is in favour of keeping the Article 370 intact. Now when the demand of its abrogation or amendment is coming from their favourite leader, we should respect it to the fullest.” Now when a year is about to complete since Article 370 was abrogated, the question is whether the National Conference will adhere to the stand its “Qaid’’ once took or will abandon their leader to hoodwink public opinion again.
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