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Akali Dal advise caution on Art 370, Minister rakes up civil code

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 7:01pm IST | Agency: PTI

BJP ally Akali Dal today cautioned the Centre against any hasty decision on Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir even as Modi government came under fresh attack over a Minister raking up another contentious issue of uniform civil code. "The decisions on issues like Article 370 should not be taken in haste," SAD leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said in Bhatinda, a view echoed by BSP Chief Mayawati who cautioned the BJP-led government against any decision taken in haste that might affect unity and integrity of the country.

JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi criticised the Modi government for raking up the issue of scrapping of Article 370 saying it would have an adverse impact on the country. Even as the row persisted, the Modi government came under fire after Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh said there was no harm in having an open debate on Article 370 and also uniform civil code. "There is no harm in having an open debate on issues like Article 370 and a common civil code. Why should we shy away from weighing their pros and cons?" said the Agriculture Minister in reply to a question in Dehradun. 

Reacting strongly, Congress accused the BJP government of "provoking unpleasant divisions and bitterness in society" cautioning that they can "tear" the nation. 

Party spokesperson Shashi Tharoor also recalled that when such issues were raised earlier by some BJP leaders in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Modi disapproved of such "distractions" and asked whether he will now allow such talks soon after the government has begun functioning. "...Should you be provoking unpleasant divisions and bitterness in society just after elections. Should you be re-opening such sensitive issues...There are many communities, which have personal laws like the Sikhs and Christians apart from Muslims," Tharoor said wondering whether the country is going to ask all communities to accept laws of one community. He said that while debates do happen "that does not imply a license to reopening everything that can tear the nation" and noted that "uniform civil code is a sensitive issue".

Mayawati too alleged that controversy on Article 370 was generated only to create polarisation among people on the lines of community and religion. "Even if Centre feels it necessary to repeal Article 370 in the interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir, no decision should be taken in haste that might affect unity and integrity of the country," she told reporters in Lucknow.

Badal, however, said "an experienced and visionary leader" like Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a call on such issues only after due consultation with the entire political leadership. The controversy was sparked by MoS in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh's remarks on Tuesday that the new government has started the process of consultations on repealing Article 370. 

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and opposition PDP slammed Singh for his comments while the minister said he has been "misquoted" 

Meanwhile, Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh today said such a controversy is "unnecessary" at a time when the new government is yet to take over completely. "Nothing can vitiate the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an 'integral part' of India and it always will be," said Singh, Minister of State for Defence.  "At a time when the new government is yet to completely take over the routine functioning in the office, any controversy around Article 370 seems unnecessary," he added in his facebook post.

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