JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of wanting to make India a “Hindu Rashtra”. The former prime minister also sought to know as to why Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be abolished.
“Why it should be abolished? The question is – why it should be abolished? I did not give article 370 there. When Kashmir joined India after an agreement with the then Maharaja there, article 370 (was agreed upon),” Gowda said.
“There are Buddhists there (in J&K), Muslims, Hindus, Brahmins, Pandits, and there are many communities there. After looking into the atmosphere that existed there, a decision was arrived at,” he said.
Gowda was speaking to reporters in Hassan from where his grandson Prajwal Revanna is JD(S) candidate for Lok Sabha polls.
“Modi has the idea, to make this entire country a Hindu Rashtra. Am I not a Hindu? Am I a Muslim or Christian or Buddhist? We take all religions into confidence,” he said.
Advocating a system where all communities coexist together, Gowda reminding about Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to bring in peace in communal violence-hit Noakhali in Bengal said, “…Gandhi got us freedom… Did these people (BJP) get us freedom? Ambedkar gave us the constitution.”
“… you (BJP) may have your ideas, if 130 crore people of Hindustan agree with the idea, let that test also happen during this election,” he added.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently advocated repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and said Article 35A, which restricts non-permanent residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir, was “constitutionally vulnerable” and also hampering economic development of the state.
Following this, several leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that the relationship between the Union and the state would be over if Article 370 of the Constitution is revoked.
Another former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had hit out at Jaitley, saying any such talk will raise questions on the accession of the state to India as well.