Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday said that repealing Article 370 may have removed many obstacles, but efforts need to be put in to “integrate people from Kashmir with the rest of the country”.
Speaking at a book release function at Nagpur, Bhagwat said, “The present government took the bold step to repeal Articles 370 and 35(A), which nobody had thought would be possible. And this was done following parliamentary debates and procedures. Now, people are also seeing that the benefits of development are reaching them. But there is still a large number of people there, particularly in the Kashmir valley, who still feel that independence (from India) is more desirable. So, efforts will have to be done to integrate them with the rest of the country — just like all parts of the body are integrated with each other.”
On the occasion, the RSS chief released two books titled Adhunik Laddakhche Nirmata Ekonisave Kushok Bakula and Jammu Kashmir: Aitihasik Paripreykhme Dhara 370 Ke Sanshodhan Ke Uprant.
Bhagwat said, “Article 370 wasn’t a danger per se. But what engendered it is the real danger. There is a small section which considers Indian nationality as its nationality. A large section is happy that corrupt leaders have gone to jail. It is also happy as development has been ushered in, but still feels that it is better if Kashmir becomes independent. The Kashmir problem arose because of lack of feeling that we are nobody if we are not Indians. We will have to inculcate the sense among them that they belong to India and that we will not be there if India is not there.”
Bhagwat also called for the return of all those who had been “forced to leave Kashmir” during Sheikh Abdullah’s time. “The sense of belonging must be on display from both sides,” he said.
Speaking about 19th Kushok Bakula, the spiritual leader of Ladakh from yesteryears, the RSS chief said that there is a “human rights bogey” that puts the Army into witness box on technical issues when it carries out operations with a sense of duty towards nation.
Lauding Bakula’s contribution to the unity and integrity of India, Bhagwat said, “Bakula was instrumental in organising patriotic Ladakhi youths for repulsing the armed invasion by Pakistani tribesmen. He took it as duty without waiting for anyone to authorise him. He had told the then Sadar-e-Riyasat Sheikh Abdullah that Ladakh wants to stay as part of India but he was sent to Mongolia. He continued his work there till Mongolia became free.”
“But when Army does something in a situation like Jammu and Kashmir, it is accused of human rights violation on technical grounds and made to stand in witness box,” Bhagwat said, adding, “we should not pay attention to technical issues to be able to forge ahead in pursuit of unity and integrity of the country.”
He also cited Bakula’s gesture not to use arms against Mongolian communists, who were opposed to the country’s nationalists, as an example worth emulating.