Srinagar, Feb 9: Forest Minister and BJP leader Chaudary Lal Singh opposing the implementation of Forest Rights Act passed in the Parliament in 2006 to be extended to the State.
It’s for the first time State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has all along opposed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, is opposing the implementation of a Government of India’s law in the State.
Many people in Jammu and Kashmir believe that law is communal in nature and can scuttle the rights of Gujjars and Bakerwals, who represent a particular community, over forests.
The J&K Forest Minister Lal Singh has gone on record to say that J&K’s special status has saved the forests in J&K otherwise they would have been finished long ago.
Singh said that if something good comes from the Parliament it should be implemented but the laws which are against the interest of the state need to be avoided.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “A senior BJP Minister opposing the law passed by the Parliament can put him in soup as he has gone against the traditional stand of his party which wants abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.”
“Singh has stirred he Hornet’s nest by opposing the extension of the Forest Act to Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
A Kashmir watcher said that many Jammu based leaders and politicians have now started believing that opposing the Article 370, which was introduced by Maharaja Hari Singh, is important to safeguard the special status of the state.”
He said the debate here is not whether the Act passed by the Parliament is good or bad but the debate is about how useful Article 370 is to safeguard the rights of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.
An observer said, “May be many people in the state BJP won’t agree with Lal Singh and they may demand that he should be sacked but his assertion should serve as an eye opener for those who are hell bent upon getting the J&K’s special status revoked.”
He said, “The BJP leaders after coming into the power have realized the importance of Article 370, which they used to oppose, when they were in the Opposition.”
A politician said that a few people within his own party would try to corner Lal Singh for defending Article 370 and going against the BJP’s traditional stand but the fact is that wittingly or unwittingly he has supported the forces that oppos revocation of Article 370 from J&K.