US Congressman lauds Modi, Parliament for revoking Article 370

Washington (IANS) A US Congressman has praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliament for "promoting stability" in Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 which "created a polarising environment and was exploited politically".

George Holding, a Representative for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, said on Thursday in the House: "Up until recently, Kashmir had been governed by Article 370, which was an outdated provision of law that the Indian constitution recognised as 'temporary'."

He said the Indian Parliament "modified provisions that were an obstacle to economic development and promoted a sense of separatism", by revocating Article 370 on August 5.

"Article 370 might have worked well for those with political connections, but it denied economic opportunities for the people. It also created a polarising environment that was exploited politically."

He said during the past decades, "thousands of people lost their lives due to terrorist attacks. Several groups based in Pakistan were able to conduct cross-border terrorism that wreaked havoc on individuals and families, and led to a morbid economy".

"The Modi government had to make a decision on whether to continue with the policy or to pursue progress by changing the region's status.

"Madam Speaker, the people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve better and Prime Minister Modi was right to take bold steps to address this situation.

"Changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir passed Parliament by a two-thirds majority, which highlights the consensus on the need for this reform.

"Even with these changes, those seeking to cause disruption have continued to promote violence," Holding added.

"Pakistan-based terror groups have recently floated posters warning common citizens against venturing out, going to work, and visiting public places. The groups have continued to engage in cross-border terrorism and have attacked civilians and children. The militants have also attacked migrant workers and those who are involved in the apple business, which is the chief crop of Kashmir."

He said that in order for Jammu and Kashmir to flourish, "there must be peace and stability".

"Individuals and families need to feel safe when they leave their homes and go to work.

"The steps that Prime Minister Modi and the Parliament have taken are needed. They are good for the long-term stability of the region and they should be applauded," he added.

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