Jammu & Kashmir

Article 370 abrogation wasn’t needed as 99% of laws were already operational in Kashmir: Kapil Sibal

Former law minister Kapil Sibal.

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal stated on Monday that the abrogation of Article 370 was unnecessary as 99% of Indian laws were already operational in Kashmir. He described the move as a political decision rather than a legal necessity.

Speaking at the launch of the book Covert: The Psychology of War and Peace by A. S. Dulat, Asad Durrani, and Neil K. Aggarwal, Sibal emphasized that most laws were already in effect in Kashmir before the abrogation on August 5, 2019.

Sibal also expressed doubts about the likelihood of assembly elections in Kashmir, citing the potential impact of the upcoming June 4 results and the possible success of the INDIA bloc. He remarked that Kashmir is now an issue between the Indian government and the Kashmiri people, rather than an India-Pakistan matter.

Reflecting on statements made by Home Minister of India Amit Shah about holding elections in Kashmir, Sibal noted the absence of progress since 2019. He highlighted the constitutional requirement for parliamentary elections but pointed out the ongoing status of Kashmir as a Union Territory and the uncertainty of statehood restoration without elections.

Sibal criticised the government’s reluctance to hold elections due to the unpredictable outcomes and potential political risks. He also touched on themes from the book, suggesting that those in power often avoid peace due to the political costs involved, such as potential election losses or changing longstanding narratives.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, also present at the event, likened Kashmir to a “football” between India and Pakistan and called for an end to hostilities. He expressed disappointment with the current state of India, feeling it did not reflect the inclusive nation he once envisioned.

The book’s authors include Dulat, a former Secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing; Durrani, a former Director General of Pakistan’s military intelligence; and Aggarwal, a psychiatrist.

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