'J&K leaders under house arrest enjoying hospitality'

Union minister Jitendra Singh. (PTI Photo)

Union minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the leaders under house arrest in Kashmir are getting choicest preferences and enjoying hospitality more than he would have enjoyed in his own house.

Delivering a lecture at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on the topic 'Abrogation of Article 370: Peace, Stability and Development', he hailed scrapping of provisions of Article 370 saying the legislation had caused isolation of Jammu and Kashmir's youth and facilitated terrorism in the state.

The event saw some students affiliated with Left organisations raising slogans against scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

Singh who hails from Jammu, in a lighter vein termed their sloganeering as a "grand welcome" saying he was glad that the students were "curious and enthusiastic" to express themselves on the subject.

Vice-Chancellor Jagdesh Kumar asserted that JNU with "one voice" supported the scrapping of Article 370 provisions like the rest of India.

Singh said those under "restrictive house arrest" in Kashmir were, in fact, enjoying the hospitality.

"This is not incarceration, (it is) some kind of restrictive house arrest. That too a house arrest where you get choicest preferences. Some of those under house arrest are enjoying more hospitality than that I would enjoy in my own house. Some of them were asking for brown bread, some were asking for Hollywood (movie) videos," he said.

Several prominent Kashmiri leaders including Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti are under detention.

Singh also claimed that no curfew was imposed in the state in the last six weeks.

He said that the ordinary people in Srinagar were happy with the scrapping of Article 370 which he termed as "huge impediment" in the path of development and investment in the state.

"In the next 3-4 months, amazing development will be seen in Jammu and Kashmir because the hurdle (Article 370) has been removed," he said.

Singh said had Jawaharlal Nehru allowed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to deal with Jammu and Kashmir like he did with other princely states, there would been no issue of Article 370.

He said even Nehru had contended it was a temporary provision and assured Syama Prasad Mookerji that "ye dhara ghiste-ghiste, ghis jayegi (this will eventually die its own death)."

He attacked the Congress for protesting against Article 370 saying it is doing so because it could not achieve what Nehru desired.

"So you are belying your own forefathers, your own patriarchs and trying to be dissentful simply because you could not carry forward the wishes of your forefather and somebody else has done it."

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