With the abrogation of Article 370, while the nation is rejoicing several political parties along with the pseudo-liberal media has taken a contrary stand. This critical stand of the political parties along with the pseudo-liberal media has also been translating into blatant fear-mongering and subversive tactics. While political parties have resorted to making provocative statements, the pseudo-liberal media has been propagating these skewed ideas through their channels.
Article 371 has now become a major target for these groups to promote their agenda. Article 371 provides Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and other states with a different framework around laws regarding land rights, the term of the state assemblies to name a few.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had first churned the debate around Article 371 and claimed that if the government can use the President’s rule and the majority in the Parliament to abrogate Article 370 nothing stops them to do the same with Article 371.
Earlier former Mizoram Chief Minister and Congress leader, Lal Thanhawla had also fueled the skewed speculations around the removal of Article 371 and tweeted, “RED ALERT to the people of NE. It has become a threat to states like Mizoram, Nagaland & Arunachal which are protected by the Constitution. If 35A and 370 are repealed, Article 371G, which safeguards the interests and existence of lesser tribals of Mizoram is under severe threat.”
Congress leader Manish Tewari also raised questions about the government’s intent on Article 371 following the abrogation of Article 370.
“Today when you’re scrapping Article 370, what message are you sending to these states. By imposing President’s Rule in the Northeastern states and using the rights of their Assemblies in Parliament, you can scrap Article 371 too. What kind of constitutional precedent are you setting in the country?” Tewari asked.
Several media reports regarding the same speculations had also surfaced over the past few days. However, Union Minister Amit Shah, replying to the comments made by Thiruavnathpuram MP in the Parliament, had firmly clarified that the Modi government had no intention to remove Article 371.
Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav had also pointed out that there is no relation between Article 370 and Article 371 and reiterated comments made by the Union Minister, Ram Madhav had tweeted, “Art 371 is in no way comparable to Art 370. There is nothing that promotes separatism in any clause of Art 371. I reassure all states covered by Art 371 that there is no question of its repeal by Modi govt’ – Amitbhai Shah in LS”
Provisions under Article 371 are mainly aimed at safeguarding tribal communities which form a major part of north-eastern states. Along with providing for dispute resolution through customary laws these laws also mandate land transfer rules and several other aspects of sates’ functioning, for example, Article 371F calls for 4 year term in the state assembly in Sikkim, Article 371A calls for special land ownership rights in Nagaland; similar provisions exist for other states which give them different framework around laws.
Nonetheless after comments coming from two senior leaders of the ruling party it is clear that the government has no intention to remove Article 371, however several leaders of the opposition and the pseudo-liberal media, indulging in meek attempts to churn a controversy around this issue is not only highly condemnable but also displays the lack of solid arguments against governments decision. This rumour-mongering by these groups has also been meeting stiff resistance on social media and is highly unlikely to make any real impact on the minds of the public.