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Article 371 in J&K: No chance says Union Minister

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Hyderabad, Dec 16: The Central government does not intend to extend Article 371 of the Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, Union minister Jitendra Singh said on Sunday. "There is no question Article 371 is going to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir," Singh said.

"There is nothing of that sort being contemplated at any level by the government of India and this disinformation is being planted by those whose illegitimate interests have been adversely affected by the abrogation of Article 370," he said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh

Article 371, which has special provisions and is applicable in some states especially in the Northeast, safeguards the rights of native people with regard to religious or social practices, customary laws and procedures, ownership and transfer of land and resources, and employment and education.

The J&K administration also said on Sunday that there was no proposal to extend Article 371-like provisions to the newly created union territory.

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    An official spokesman said in Jammu that media reports about the possible extension of Article 371 to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir were baseless as there was no such proposal so far.

    The Union Home Affairs Ministry has also refuted any such claims, the J&K administration's spokesperson said.

    Addressing an event at the Indian School of Business (ISB) here, minister of state Singh said Central laws are automatically applicable to the two newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and the necessary notifications whenever required are being issued one after the other.

    Reiterating that Article 370 is "gone forever as a whole", he said there is a basic difference between the essence and spirit of Article 370 which has been revoked from Jammu and Kashmir and Article 371 which is applicable in certain areas of the Northeast.

    Under Article 370 of the Constitution, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was given special status till its abrogation on August 5.

    "Certain fringe elements are trying to create confusion for vested interests by planting disinformation in the media that certain laws or acts will not be applicable in Jammu and Kashmir or applicable there only in truncated form."

    "The elements spreading such disinformation are tactically supported by the Congress and the National Conference which have been the beneficiaries of Article 370," he said.

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    Singh said the vested interests will have to "swallow a bitter pill" whether they like it or not. However, the minister said it is the duty of "all patriotic, nationalistic and right-thinking citizens" to cooperate in smooth implementation of the same laws and rules which are applicable in the rest of India.

    He said that while in case of states, there may be some leverage for the respective state governments, in the case of a Union Territory the Centre's laws are applicable.

    Giving an example, he said that while law and order and police are state subjects in the case of states, in case of a Union Territory these fall in the domain of Union Home Ministry.

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