CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said Jammu and Kashmir's special status, which is provided by Article 370 of the Constitution, is not a debatable issue but settled for all times to come.

If there is a debate over it, it is being done to cause communal tension, the veteran communist leader said.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said that BJP is creating an unwarranted row over an issue which has been there since 1947. "It's totally unnecessary," he said. However, BJP leaders said the Article must be debated as people in J&K have "suffered" due to it.
    
"Has it become a holy book over which there cannot be a debate? These champions of secularism do not know the pain this Article has caused to people in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Article 370 has become a political crutch for them," party's spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Another BJP leader, Subramanian Swamy, took exception to National Conference president and Cabinet Minister Farooq Abdullah's comments that Modi cannot repeal Article 370 even if he becomes Prime Minister for 10 terms.

"I do not know which Constitution Farooq Abdullah is reading. In fact, the Constitution ensures that for repealing Article 370, you do not even need a Parliamentary vote. It requires the President to issue a notification, cancelling or quashing the article," he said.

Article 370

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a temporary provision which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. Under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with "Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions", the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.

This article specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Communications, (matters specified in the instrument of accession), the Indian Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

Thus, the state's residents lived under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.

JPN/Agencies

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